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10 steps to a book-filled summer

Little girl reading outside
Want to make sure books feature strongly during your child’s summer break? TheSchoolRun suggests ways to help you make reading a pleasure.
  1. Get together with a group of friends with children and set an ‘extreme reading’ competition.  This involves each child getting a photograph of them reading in the most unusual place they can think of. This could be at the top of a mountain, in the sea, in a cave and so on.
  • As a family, read a book that relates to a specific place and then visit that place, talking about what you read in the book as you explore together.
  • Read a book that transports you back to a particular time in history. Having fired their interest through a character you can then explore the history further via non-fiction reading and maybe a museum visit.
  • See how favourite books have been brought to life on film with a programme of cinematic adaptations-watching. Intersperse reading books (anything from Happy Potter to The Hundred and One Dalmations) with watching the corresponding film on DVD, and promise a trip to the cinema to see an adaptation on the big screen at the end of the summer.
  • Run a family book club. Select a book and borrow several copies from your local library, then set yourselves a deadline to read it by. Have a set of rules, such as making sure nobody spoils the ending for anyone else, then enjoy talking about the book as you read it. Choose a time and date to sit down and chat about the book together (if takeaway food or popcorn are on the menu, even better!).
  • If your child loves computer games, why not try some which reinforce reading skills as well as being fun? They'll never notice that their screen time is actually reading time. Schemes such as Reading Eggs allow you to choose the appropriate level for your child, whatever their reading ability.
  • Summer holidays often involve long car journeys and audio books (borrowed from the library or downloaded) can be an enthralling way to pass many boring travel hours.
  • Invite your children to read some books and then set them free. At you can review a book and then label it and leave it in a public place (such as a bus stop or cafe) where it will be picked up. The code you label it with can then be entered on the website by the finder, where they can read your review and add their own, before setting the book free again to find its next owner. Some will go astray, but it can be really fun to see how far your book travels and what others think of it.
  • Sign up to the Scholastic Summer Challenge (based in the US). Read books, log minutes and meet weekly reading challenges to be in with a chance of winning prizes. Children around the globe are taking part in an attempt to break the world record for reading-minutes recorded, and it’s a great way to inspire excitement in reading.
  • For free fun and an interesting (and dry!) place to visit regularly throughout the holidays, join the Summer Reading Challenge at your local library. Your child will need to read six or more books during the holidays and will be rewarded with stickers and other small prizes. The Reading Challenge website help kids keep track of their reading, find new books to read, take part in competitions and play games.
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