We've all heard how important it is for kids to keep reading during the summer. So, what's a parent to do when kids reject the very notion of settling down to read? What's a parent to do when all books are unappealing?
Desperate times call for desperate measures! When my kids went through non-reading phases, I had to accept graphic novels and comics as stand-ins. Quite frankly, this was not easy for my snobbish-self to accept, and it took me a while to come around.
I learned that graphic novels and comics can boost a child's motivation to read. Bursting with colours and snappy dialogue, they are especially appealing to children on the go. Packed with action and cliffhangers, kids become hooked on the development of the plot. By the way, some plots are quite good, and are full of humour and irony.
Comics and graphic novels are also great for struggling readers. Images provide contextual clues to the plot. Comics can build confidence in reading skills, because kids aren't daunted by pages of lengthy text.
Ultimately, the idea is for kids to experience reading as an enjoyable activity, eventually leading them toward more text-based materials. If in the meantime reading doesn't look anything like you pictured, don't stress!
Here are some sizzling selections to jump-start summer reading:
My kids are addicted to this series, featuring werewolves, vampires, and other strange creatures.
Drawings are kind of creepy, but the text sticks quite closely to the original. Kids can enjoy a selection of fairy tales in this series.
We all grew up with Archie, and kids still love these comics today. Is this great literature? No, but you can pick these up almost anywhere, and kids can't seem to put them down. It's all about developing reading as a hobby.
Younger kids will find the relationship between Calvin and Hobbes endearing, while older kids will get the quirky humour. We own the collection, and have enjoyed it thoroughly. You can order online, or borrow through your local library.
School's (almost) out for summer, and that means FREEDOM! No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks. But, summer doesn't have to mean a vacation from thinking. Being outdoors or chilling out at home can actually inspire thinking. Summer is the perfect time to discover new interests, and to engage the heart and mind. No workbooks required!
Try these engaging activities with your kids, and let the summer adventures begin.
Good for the body and soul, and stimulates curiosity. Encourage kids to gather objects of interest, which can later be used for art projects, collections, or a little research. Bring a camera so to snap shots, and kids can scrapbook the photos. Even just going for a walk in nature can stimulate all kinds of thinking.
Sensory overload, and it's good for the body and mind. Kids can calculate total costs and change, while experiencing tastes from around the world.
Learn, make a difference, and feel great! Soup kitchens and libraries will often allow younger volunteers. You could also create your own projects by picking flowers for the elderly, baking for someone who needs a pick-me-up, or helping in a community garden.
Many cities and town have an array of music, theatre, and multicultural festivals going on. A great way to challenge the mind, discover a passion, and inspire creativity. We just bought tickets to an outdoor performance of Pirates of Penzance put on by the Calgary Opera. We wouldn't do this in the winter, but summer is full of adventure.
Kids can sign up for the TD Summer Reading Club, happening in libraries across Canada. Included are activities, stickers and a website that inspires kids to read all summer long. Most libraries also offer free events for kids, and of course free books to read during those lazy, hazy days.
I can't wait for summer to start so that the real learning can begin!