10 Options for Reading Outside the Book
Summary: Encourage your kids to read alternative materials during summer and other free time from school.
Picking up a book on summer vacation might be the last thing on your child's mind. And maybe that's okay -- everyone is entitled to a break now and then. But taking a break from books doesn't have to mean taking a break from reading.
There are plenty of ways to keep reading beyond books. The key is to tune into interests kids already have. If your daughter loves swimming, provide ways for her to learn more about this sport through articles, brochures, tip sheets, and even catalogues. Let a video game-obsessed child read instructions, reviews, and strategy books.
During carefree summer vacation, let your kids explore ways to think outside the book. Here are some ways to keep kids reading in ways they might not have imagined.
- Newspapers. Many newspapers have sections geared toward kids. The articles are generally short and snappy, and either appeal directly to kids or are written from a kid's point of view. Also, keep an eye out for articles that might pique your child's specific interests. While sections about cars, movies, travel, technology, and music may be aimed at adults, kids might get drawn in, too.
- Magazines. Magazines for kids or preteens might seem fluffy. But if they keep your kids reading, the benefits might make up for the lack of heavy hitting content. Kids can often identify with the tone and subject matter of magazines, and the articles hold their attention.
- Cookbooks. Even if your children would much rather eat out than cook, cooking is a good opportunity to get kids reading. Give them a cookbook and a pack of Post-Its, and let them pick out several recipes they'd like to try this summer. You can also make the meals together as a family activity.
- Comic books. Comic books and graphic novels are becoming more and more popular. The illustrations and often offbeat topics should keep kids interested.
- Brochures. Are you going on a special vacation? Or do you just wish you were? Get brochures for destination spots, tourist attractions, and theme parks. Let your children read the brochures and get excited about an upcoming event or a potential adventure.
- Song lyrics. Rare is the child who doesn't love music. He or she may have already found the liner notes in the CDs, but encourage them to read along as they listen to songs. Also, your child can search for lyrics online and sometimes learn about the songwriter's stories behind the songs.
- Instructions. Summer is a time for backyard projects, like building swing sets, blowing up pool toys and assembling games and sports sets. Have your child read the instructions and help you go step by step on your project. Who knows, the children might understand the instructions better than you!
- Food and product labels. Have your kids read the cereal box, bag of chips, soda can, suntan lotion bottle, bug spray, or anything else that is lying around. It won't take them long to scan the words, and they'll learn more about what they're putting in or on their bodies.
- Catalogues. These can be a great option if your child is exploring a particular interest. From soccer, to bedroom furniture, to clothes, catalogues have concentrated information on whatever turns your child's head.
- Backs of videos/DVDs. Rather than picking a movie based on its packaging, take your kids to the movie rental stores selection of older picks. Have your kids select a movie based on the story description on the back of the box challenge them to find a good story based on the plot rather than the marketing.
Reprinted with the permission of Reading is Fundamental, Inc. ©2007 Reading Is Fundamental, Inc.
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