Friday, July 09, 2010

Summer Reading: Ways to Getting’ it done

It is summer in NJ if you could not tell it by the calendar you can surely tell it by the heat and humidity. Many of us enjoy a nice lazy summer lounging at the pool or beach with a good book. On the other hand, our children often are required to read an hour a day or do a book report for their summer reading. I am not sure who the schools are punishing the children or the parents that have to fight with the children to read a book when all they want to do is have fun in the sun. To decrease the fighting in my home here are a few strategies that I have used:

The one page read: I scan the book onto a standard piece of paper and place it in a top loader. It becomes their placemat for breakfast. I have even been known to staple it to the back of the cereal box. (Since two pages fit on one standard page – I get 2 for 1).

Shared silly reading: When we are doing this, we have cards we made up and the person picks how they will read. There are times it is a silly voice, standing on one leg, ringing of bells when we get to a specific word.

Audio books: Yes, I know Audio books are not considered reading. However, you can work a deal you read one chapter you can listen to one chapter. Often what will happen is the student will follow along in the book.

Reward reading material of choice: If my niece or nephew finishes their assigned reading for the week typically, 1-2 chapters they are given a reward of more material to read. This can range from a comic book, graphic novel, magazines or a game.

Roll the dice: A game of chance depending on how you roll the dice you may end up with as little as 2 pages or 2 minutes or up to 12 pages or 12 minutes of reading. The way we play is you have a choice before you roll the dice are you going for pages or minutes. If we do this method we, play at least 3 times a day.

Give a purpose to reading: When my niece and nephew have a book for summer reading, I read the book before they do. I set a purpose for each chapter. I might have them look for idioms, comparisons, something that reminds them of somewhere they have gone, or a hunt for a hidden message that I created using little dots over words that spell out a special treat.

If all else fails bribery always works. I give a penny for every page read. Since most of the books my niece and nephew are reading are between 300-400 pages, they make $3-$4 dollars. If they complete the task earlier then their established deadline, they can double their money. If they complete the writing assignment that typically goes with their summer reading, they can triple their money.

If you have a creative way to help your children or students get through their unwanted summer reading, please share. I am always looking for new ways to motivate more reading in my family.

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