Summer's here, which means we're all on totally different schedules than we have been for the last nine months.
Gone are days of early to bed, early to rise so that our kids make the school bus on time. No more packed lunches, juice boxes, or homework.
It's a whole new summertime schedule, one that usually means later nights, longer days, a whole lot of sun, and a whole lot of inconsistency in family schedules. One week the kids may have morning camp; the next week they're home, and the next week two kids are at full-day camp while the other one is home with a sitter.
Or something like that.
Despite the chaos, we do want our kids to keep thinking and reading while they're out of school. In fact, studies show that if kids aren't reading six books on average throughout the summer, they can experience serious learning setbacks.
And no one wants their kids to fall behind after all their hard work through the school year, right?
So here are a few summer reading secrets—some simple ways to stay consistent during the craziest time of the year:
- Start the day with newspaper reading;
- Read under the stars together right before bedtime;
- Plan reading lunches where one person reads aloud from his or her book of choice during the mid-day meal;
- Do some daily poolside reading while siblings take swim lessons or practice for swim team;
- Take a daily or weekly family hike and throw a few books in the bag. Make it a goal to celebrate making it to your destination by relaxing with a book;
- Cozy up on the couch with a book before bedtime and reconnect after a long day!
No matter what you choose to do, the goal is to schedule reading time that works for your family. Whether you start the day with 30 minutes of reading, end the day with reading, or set aside a 30-minute "rest time" mid-day for reading, find a time that works for everyone.
And do your best to stick with it.
If you've got a busy, ever-changing summertime schedule (like many people do!), then create a calendar of monthly, weekly, or daily events – and post it so everyone can see it. Perhaps you can start each week with a schedule. If you take a few minutes each Sunday evening to plan out your schedule, you can very deliberately pen in time for reading.
We actually have found that our kids do best when we start each day with a schedule, so we keep a large-sized white tile on our kitchen counter on which we write our daily events with a dry erase marker. Easy! Every day our reading time was written in!
And though our daily schedule changed, what was consistent was that we had a daily schedule posted. The kids knew where to go in the morning to see what was on for that day. Even that tiny bit of consistency helped because kids thrive on consistency. They need to know what's happening.