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How to keep your child reading all summer long

With the school year winding down and kids spending more time outside, certain traditionally indoor activities like reading tend to take the backburner. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

“We know how important reading is for children,” says Dr. Clare Crosh, a pediatrician at Advocate Children’s Hospital. “The first few years of a child’s life are the most crucial for speech and language development, which is exponentially enhanced by reading. It expands a child’s vocabulary and can enhance the parent-child relationship by reducing stress and increasing bonding.”

Instead of putting the books on the shelf until school starts back up, Dr. Crosh offers a few fun ideas to keep kids reading through the summer months.

Head to your local library

Sign up for the library’s summer reading program. Most libraries offer incentives that appeal to children and motivate them to turn those pages. You’ll also find plenty of new and exciting books your child hasn’t read before waiting to be borrowed.

Create a book club for kids

You can get family, friends and/or neighborhood kids involved. Read the same book or series and get together to do a craft or activity related to the book. For example, if you read a book about construction vehicles, consider finding a construction site you can safely visit from a distance to check out the trucks in action.

Take books outside

Read on your front porch, at the park or lay out a picnic blanket in the grass and enjoy a book. Sometimes a change in environment can make an activity feel new and exciting.

Get the whole family involved

Have siblings read together. This is a great way for the older child to practice reading skills and the younger child to develop speech and language skills.

Road trip reads

Keep books in the car and rotate them out to keep them feeling fresh. This is a great way to keep kids occupied on car rides.

“Making reading a part of your child’s summer is an important and fun way to keep their brain active while school is out,” says Dr. Crosh. “Staying consistent with reading will help your child cultivate a passion for reading that will last a lifetime.”

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