Simple Tips for Getting Your Kids Reading Ready for School 

The back-to-school countdown has begun. If yours is like most households, you’ve got a list of school supplies, clothes, backpacks and gym shoes to get ready before your children’s first day. But many parents may also be wondering how to get their kids mentally prepared for a new school year, especially if you feel like there may have been a “summer slump” in their learning. Honing their reading skills is one of the easiest ways to get them prepared. We’ve got some simple tips for getting your kids reading-ready for the classroom. 

Since nothing seems worse to most kids than having homework in the summer, the trick to brushing up on reading skills is to make it feel like fun. Here are some ideas to get them back on track, depending on their age group. 

Elementary School 

  • Passing notes. Not in school, but at home. Use a big envelope or a little basket to create “mailboxes” outside your kids’ bedrooms. Write short notes to them that end with a question. Leave them a pencil or crayon and paper and ask them to write you back. This will boost their reading and writing skills. 
  • Vocabulary. Pick a new odd or big word to use every day. Show your child how to look up and read about the meaning, then use it in funny ways when talking to your child throughout the day. This may seem silly, but they’re learning new things. 
  • Bedtime reading. Reading to your kids – or having them read to you – for a short time each night before bed not only gets them back in the swing of book time, but it helps establish that much-needed bedtime routine for the next several months. 

Middle School 

  • Link reading to hobbies. If you have a kid who loves jokes, does their own at-home science experiments or even loves to cook, show them how books can take their favorite things to the next level. Download or show them where to find books about what they love. Maybe their favorite cooking show host has a book series they can start reading, or their knack for DIY-projects aligns with a cool how-to book at the library.  
  • Library trips. If you’ve got a local library, don’t be a stranger. It underscores the importance of reading. Let your kids see you browse for your favorite books, or show them how to use the online system for borrowing. It’s also fun to create library-and-treat traditions. If you head to your local library every week or two, pair it with a walk to a local coffee or ice cream shop and let your kids pick out a treat. It’s a memory-maker built around books. 

High School 

  • Family Book Club. Show your older kids you care about what they are reading by starting a family book club. It can be tiny – just two people. The trick is letting your high schooler pick a book that interests them. You set a timeline for you each to read it. When you’re finished, you can go for a walk or grab a bite to eat and talk about what you read. 
  • Research is reading. Have a family trip coming up? Maybe it’s a fun vacation, or you’re just headed somewhere to visit relatives. Either way, make your older reader the family research assistant. Ask them to hop online and dive into the history of a place you are headed, or surf through a list of possible activities you can do when you get there. It will make them feel more invested in the trip, and they’ll be reading the whole time. 

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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