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Family vacations don’t have to interrupt a child’s summer reading

July 19, 2017

A child’s summer reading doesn’t have to end as families make that last push to squeeze in vacations before the start of school.

Melanie Kuhn, the Jean Adamson Stanley professor in literacy at Purdue University, said it is important that families consider reading to be another form of entertainment on vacation.

“It is important to think about ways in which reading can be part of daily life on vacation,” she said. “You can set aside a time every day in which all tablets and phone apps are shut-off.”

Rather than force the child to read, parents can use alternate methods such as playing a board game with questions that have to be asked and answered and having the child read through the directions of the game.

With older children, parents can have them reading stories aloud as part of a family time.

“If your kids want to read on their own, that is fantastic ­– just don’t make it a chore,” Kuhn said.

Marcia Gentry, director of the College of Education’s Gifted Education Research and Resource Institute, said vacations offer the opportunity for travel, exploration and informal learning.

“It is important that learning continues throughout the summer time,” she said.

Reading isn’t the only aspect of learning that can become a fun activity during a summer vacation. In terms of writing, Kuhn said children can keep a family journal or write letters to friends.

Finding a book or magazine the child finds engaging will promote reading even more. Kuhn stressed the topic is less important than the interest in reading itself.

“Let them read about whatever they are interested in, whether it’s baseball or Ariana Grande or irrigation,” she said.  “We tend not to think of War and Peace as beach reading; it is the same for kids. Let summer reading be enjoyable and something the family simply does, and they will probably start to pick up the habit as well.”

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