Boost Your Child's Summer With Reading

4/8/2024 | Sean M. Gallagher, MD, FAAP

As a parent, you want the best for your child, and one simple way to boost their development is through reading. With summer just around the corner, it's the perfect time to dive into books. Many children take a break from learning during the summer, but reading can keep their minds active until school starts again. It provides a nice break away from electronic devices, excessive use of which is linked to behavior problems and mental health conditions like anxiety. Dr. Sean Gallagher discusses some tips to encourage summer reading and some fun ways to do so as a family. 

how to encourage reading:  

Think about your own family's reading habits. Are any of the following examples things you could start doing? 

  • Create a reading-friendly environment at home.
  • Get a library card and make regular trips together. 
  • Set aside a quiet, screen-free time for regular reading.
  • Have a variety of books accessible for your child to choose from.
  • Consider how your reading habits can be a positive model for them. Do you enjoy reading? Children often pick up positive attitudes toward reading when they see grown-ups doing it, too. So be a reading role model! 

The Value of Reading

Reading is especially important for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. When you read to children under 5, you're actually helping their brains grow. Early exposure to books is linked to better language and reading skills later on. Here are two great resources to consider: 

As kids get older, reading becomes a tool for learning about the world. Your child will use their reading skills throughout their life. Summer reading can be both enjoyable and a chance to strengthen these lifelong skills.

To keep your young readers engaged, consider some fun strategies. When I was a child, my dad had me write short book reports for each book I finished. And guess what? Pizza Hut's "Book It" program is still around! Encourage your child to talk about the books they're reading. Discussing the characters and their adventures can help your child think about how they might handle similar situations. Plus, it's a great way to bond with your child.

Remember the wise words of Dr. Seuss, who said, "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." Pick up a book today and encourage your child to do the same!

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