4 Great Summer Reading Activities

Welcome to Elephant Notes . . . our periodic take on some of the ideas, issues, and news impacting parents, children, and reading.

June 2020 | Advice, How To

Looking for fun ways to get your child engaged in reading this summer? Look no further. Here at Elephant Books, a subscription based-book service for kids, it is our mission to help young readers blossom and families bond over great books. In each package and on our blog, we share reading tips to help families get started and to dive deeper into reading. We are here today to share some great, highly interactive ones to try out this summer. So pick up your favorite book and try one of these out!

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1. Create a Special Book Nook

Having a book nook is a great way to integrate reading into your everyday routine. It will create a fun and inviting space for your child to dive into new books and make new memories. Having a special, designated space for books and for reading will emphasize how valuable reading is and how fun it can be. There are many ways to create a book nook, but here we are sharing some of our favorite ideas!

A book nook might look like a special place to store your child’s books. It can be a traditional bookshelf, a nightstand, a windowsill, a roll-around cart, or whatever else fits your home and your family. Get creative and decorate these spaces with crafts, drawings, pillows, or stuffed animals to make your child feel like this space is uniquely theirs. Another great tip is to make these spaces accessible for your child so that they can grab a book whenever they want. This will offer them independence and allow them to fall in love with reading, as they make time with books themselves.

Another way to create a book nook is to make a special space to read in your home. This can be near the same space you store your books or completely different. Grab something comfy to sit on, whether it be some pillows or your favorite chair, and some other cozy items like pillows, blankets and stuffed animals. The idea is to make a comfortable, inviting, and fun space for reading that makes your child feel excited to sit down and snuggle up with a book. This space could be permanent, like a cozy windowsill or a special chair, or it could be something temporary you break out to make the day special, like a fort or a tent.

2. Act Out the Story

Sometimes you and your child enjoy a story so much you don’t want it to end. Or maybe you have a little extra energy one day and want to do something special for reading time. Acting out a book can be a great way to engage with a story while playing and having a little extra fun.

First, grab some costumes and props! Put old Halloween costumes to use or throw together a goofy outfit from your wardrobe. You can also make your own costumes and props out of different things around the house like cardboard or felt. Encourage your child to get creative and let them interpret the character however they want.

Next, you might also build a set. This could be a simple stage so your child feels like a real-life actor. Or, you might recreate different places from the story. Make a castle out of cardboard or a highway out of building blocks. Having these extra props will really help the story come alive.

After that, you’re ready to act out your story! You might read the book and have your child act out what’s happening in the book. Or, if they remember the story well enough on their own, you can encourage them to act out the whole thing without a read-aloud of the book. Gather an audience and celebrate your child’s fantastic interaction and engagement with reading.

3. Explore Words and Letters Everywhere

There are lots of opportunities to read anytime, anywhere. Make your home a great place to continue learning and reading by showing that there are words and letters everywhere. Here are some fun tips to get started.

You can look for words and letters everywhere through a scavenger hunt! Simply pick a letter and go around the house looking for words that start with this letter. To make it even more fun, you can go through the entire alphabet. This game is a great way to get your child moving and to help them learn their letter sounds. It’s also a great tool to have in your back pocket if you are at the grocery story, waiting at the doctor’s office, or just want to spice up your walk through the neighborhood.

You can take this tip further and use labels to show words and letters everywhere. Grab some sticky notes or tape and pieces of paper and label different things around your house. For younger children, you might label objects with the letter they start with (“t” for “table”), and for older children, you can write out the full word. Being able to see words and letters everywhere will help your child gain confidence in reading and learn new vocabulary along the way.

4. Make the Story Your Own

When you fall in love with a character or a place in a book, sometimes it’s fun to take the story further and reimagine it! Taking different aspects from a story and making it your own is a great way to get creative and to engage with a story. Here are some tips on how to get started.

Think about what got you excited about the story you are reimagining. Was it the characters? Was it the setting? Was it the conflict? Choose one or more of these to include in your new story as a jumping off point. Then, start brainstorming and getting the creative juices flowing. Come up with a new story based on the book you chose.

After you come up with an idea for your story, you can either turn it into a play or puppet show and act it out, or you can write it down and illustrate it. If your child is old enough, you can have them write it out on a piece of paper. If they are younger, you can have them tell you their story and you can write it down for them. After the story is on paper, go back in and add illustrations to make your story come to life.

Sometimes, it can make a world of difference to mix up the way you approach books and to make it even more fun. These are just four simple tips to help your child engage with their reading, but there are so many more creative ways to support your young reader. If you are looking for even more tips and tricks, check out our blog, where we post even more in-depth information and activities surrounding reading and literacy.

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