Summer is in full swing around the country and for many of us that means it is time for our "summer reading." We’ve a bit more time to sit and relax with a good book. But, as those of us who live and work with dyslexics know, this may not be their idea of a good time.

5 Tips to Get or Keep Kids Reading this Summer

So, how might you get your child or student interested in reading a good book this summer? Here are 5 tips to get (or keep) kids reading!

  1. Read topics of interest. This theme is all over DyslexiaHelp. As I’ve written before, my dissertation looked at the role of students' genuine interests in learning and I found quite powerful positive outcomes for 6th graders with language-based learning disorders. Rosalie Fink found that highly successful adults with dyslexia persevered to read in areas of interests, some of which were directly linked to their future vocations. I tell my parents, “I don’t care what he is reading (within reason, of course)—as long as he is reading!”
  2. Everybody read. Children are more likely to engage in behaviors that they see modeled in others they admire, respect, and love. Choose a time when the entire family takes a break and picks up something of interest and reads.
  3. Rent the movie. Being an avid reader myself, it’s my preference to read the book and then see the movie, but for our dyslexic kids, I will sometimes recommend the opposite. Watching the movie first can help them get the gestalt—the big picture—and pique their interest to read the book.
  4. Do some research. Many of you are heading to places known and unknown. What better way to get excited about where you are going than to learn a little about your destination beforehand? Hold a little contest—who can find out something new about that beach town or state park you return to every summer? Who can find out something new about or to do in your town? Let your child choose an activity that you will all do (set the parameters, of course). Go to your local library. Do an internet search. Write to the tourism bureau. If you are lucky enough to live in a town like I do with a number of independent booksellers—head to the bookstore. These folks are fountains of knowledge, voracious readers, and love to help you find just exactly what you need.
  5. Maximize travel time. Regardless of how you travel—car, train, bus, plane—have those audiobooks and earbuds handy (albeit, I always have my paperback novel). Ideally, as I tell my dyslexic clients, I want them tracking print as they listen to it; but realistically, some can’t do this when moving. Audiobooks are a great way to get kids and teens hooked into a story and a good story can be fun for the entire family.

This summer my clients and I are reading:

Amulet Book 1: The Storykeeper

Amulet Book 1: The Storykeeper
by Kazu Kibuishi—a graphic novel that had me hooked within pages!

Harry Potter

Harry Potter books 1–6
by JK Rowling—getting ready for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child—What more is there to say about that?

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
by Robert C. O’Brien—a 1972 Newbery Medal winner. Many of my kiddos really love books with anthropomorphic animals. (I’ll watch the movie when we’ve finished.) And, anthropomorphic is a great word to tease apart using our knowledge of Latin and Greek origins of English words!

Magic Tree House

Magic Tree House books
by Mary Pope Osborne. Younger kids really like it when they are reading a “chapter book” and these are good. And, the narratives have wonderful companion texts that are nonfiction!

The True Blue Scouts of the Sugar Man Swamp

The True Blue Scouts of the Sugar Man Swamp
by Kathi Appelt, a 2013 National Book Award finalist and another book with anthropomorphic animals.

Research has demonstrated that the more one reads, the better a reader one becomes and the more knowledge one accrues. Dr. Seuss got it right—“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” So, where will you “be going” this summer?