One summer time (actually all year round) activity anyone can participate in regardless of Internet access or mobile devices is reading. And, most cities have at least one public library where you can check out books for free. As parents we need to turn our families onto reading.
Growing up books were never further than an arm's reach away. Every room had at least one floor-to-ceiling bookcase, if not more. My favorites were anything from the Time-Life Foods of the World series, especially those countries that my grandfather traveled to regularly for work. I firmly believe this unlimited access coupled with my dad reading out loud to the family a chapter or two from a book is why I'm still an avid reader to this day.
We began reading to Gates when she was in the womb, probably like most parents these days, and we have continued this practice. (Nurturing a love of reading in Gates is so important to us that we even included it in last year's Summer Bucket List Challenge: Check out a book from the library each week. It proved a little too ambitious for us to complete. This year we've included a few, more realistic, reading-related items on our list.)
Gates enjoys having a book or two read to her when she first wakes. And we read one to three books, depending on the length, to her before she goes down for her nap and before she goes to sleep for the night. Throughout the day, Gates has access to crates filled with children's books and to bookcases filled (and surfaces covered) with cookbooks, history books, art books, non-fiction, and magazines.
Like my parents did with me, we encourage Gates to read (flip through on her on or have read aloud) anything that catches her eye. Her current favorites are Hop on Pop (I Can Read It All By Myself) (*affiliate link), Green Eggs and Ham (*affiliate link), and Amelia Bedelia (I Can Read Book Level 2) (*affiliate link) and she has us read them to her over and over again.
Three Tips for Encouraging Children and Teens to Read
- Regularly visit your local library as a family. The best thing about the library is that it's free! Anyone can walk in with a piece of identification and get a library card. So, instead of gluing your eyes to a screen where you can easily be distracted, unplug and bury yourself in a book. Your kids will see in your actions that reading is a fun activity.
- Choose a theme for your reading adventures. Maybe for the summer choose a few that the entire family can enjoy. The Association of Children's Librarians of Northern California has all sorts of Storytime Idea themes to pick from ranging from Animals to Everyday Things to Multicultural. If you're looking for themes specifically targeted towards toddlers and preschoolers, the County of Los Angeles Public Library has a good list of themes complete with Parent Guides. We chose three themes for this year's Summer Bucket List: Japan, Photography, and Plants and Photosynthesis.
- Participate in your local library's Summer Reading Program. Sign up for the San Francisco Public Library's Summer Read SF 2014 program begins tomorrow and they have programs for children, teens, and adults.
Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.
This post contains affiliate links followed by (*affiliate link). I feature products that I own or that I am considering purchasing. I own all of the books mentioned in this post. All opinions presented are my own.