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How to Keep Kids Reading During Holiday Breaks from School

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By Scott Winstead

keep kids reading during holidays

As a parent and educational professional, I’ve seen firsthand how eagerly kids anticipate school breaks like Christmas or summer vacation. However, these breaks often lead to a ‘holiday slide’ in learning, especially in reading.

I’ve found that it’s crucial to maintain a reading habit even during these breaks. Regular reading plays a vital role in a child’s development – it fuels their imagination, sharpens analytical thinking, and enhances problem-solving skills. More than that, it broadens their understanding of the world, fostering empathy and communication skills.

But getting kids to pick up a book during holiday time can be challenging. As someone who’s navigated this, I’ve gathered some practical tips to keep your children engaged in reading during their school breaks. Let’s dive in and explore how to make reading a fun part of their holiday routine.

Formulate a Plan

Make a plan with your children before the holiday break starts. Try not to wait until the holiday break is underway to come up with a reading routine.

This plan could include a simple discussion of what reading time each day will look like. If you are looking for more structure, it could also include a calendar or chart with designated reading times.

The best type of plan is one that has a reading goal. You can set a goal of 20 minutes each day, as a minimum. In spite of the hectic days, at least you will have built 20 minutes of reading routine time into your bedtime routine.

You can also have your child draw out their own reading calendar. Putting them in charge of this task will help them take ownership of their reading goals. Add in some stickers and other craft supplies to make it a fun calendar.

Use Apps to Make Reading Fun

Lou Adventures: An Interactive Learning Story for Kids Lou Adventures: An Interactive Learning Story for Kids

Lou Adventures is an interactive learning story for kids that helps them improve their reading skills through a fun, adventurous game.

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Another option to switch up the reading routine is to use interactive reading apps, like Lou Adventures.

Lou Adventures is a free app that helps children hone their reading comprehension skills in a fun, engaging way.

Lou, a furry dog character in the app, takes children through different interactive adventures and mysteries. The app asks children questions along the way to check for understanding.

The best part is that you can refer to the dashboard after they have completed their reading time and check their progress.

Check out our Lou Adventures review for an in-depth look at the app.

Click here to try Lou Adventures for free!

Set an Example

Children do what they see. Part of making reading an everyday occurrence, especially over a holiday break, starts with you. Take some time each day and read.

You can read with your child, or you can read your own book while your child is reading. If you have some downtime, which is a rarity for parents and caregivers, take a few minutes to read.

Let your child see you stopping to sit and read. Explain to your children why reading is important to you, and in life. Give them examples of how reading often helps you learn or relax.

You can also make it a point to let them know that you are going to read for 20 minutes. Maybe they will join you!

Allow Children to Choose

Allowing children to choose what they read over break can be a game-changer. Most often in school, children are told what they have to read. This could be their chance to pick out different types of books they will enjoy. These books might not be educational, but the practice of reading is education in itself.

Go somewhere new to pick out books to read over the holiday break. If you frequent the local library and bookstores often, choose another library.

Find a different bookstore in a new town. Some towns have awesome used bookstores that you can visit. There are also virtual used bookstores online that you can order from.

If you make the plan for reading over break early, you can have these books at your doorstep when break begins.

Give it a Theme

Of course, your child can read a mix of books during the holiday break. Another cool idea is to choose a theme for the week. Maybe your child loves mystery, science, or a certain character. You can search for books within the theme of their choice together. Mix up the type of books within your theme, including both fiction and nonfiction.

Make it a Challenge

Who doesn’t love a good challenge? There are many ways to make reading a challenge over holiday breaks. You can find many printable worksheets online that make reading a challenge.

Some of my favorite challenges include a checklist of different types of books (a funny book, a nonfiction book, a book with magic). Other reading challenges are bingo boards that list different types of books. You can add a prize incentive of our choice for each winning bingo line.

Challenge your child to read to their siblings. The book challenge options are plentiful, and it might be a good way to gear your child up for reading over the holiday break.

Designate a Reading Space

The best part about reading is that it can be done anywhere! Books are easy to carry and bring along with you while waiting or traveling. If you plan to be home over most of the holiday break, create a reading space. If you do not have a designated reading space already, adding in a new one could add to the excitement of reading over the break.

A designated reading space does not have to be fancy, though it can be! Some books in a bin with a comfortable place to sit is a great way to start. You can add pillows or a beanbag chair. Fun lighting is always a plus!

If the reading nook is next to a window, natural light sets a great tone.

One important tip is to make sure the books are easily accessible in the reading zone. If children have to leave the reading zone to find another book, it could lead to distraction. Having the books at arm’s reach is key for keeping children focused during their reading time.

Take the Pressure Off

Once you have a plan set for reading over holiday break, you want to try to stick to it as much as possible. But there is a lot of fun and relaxation time that occurs over a holiday break. Let’s not forget the traveling, traditions, and family dinners.

One of the best pieces of advice is to take the pressure off. Some reading is better than zero reading, but remember we want to continue to make reading an enjoyable activity.

Try not to put too much pressure on the reading schedule, but instead focus on building reading in with quality family time.

If it’s the middle of the holiday break and your child seems to be running out of steam, take a break. Switch up the reading activity or reading location. Try again the next day!

Start a Family Book Club

When a family reads together, it makes reading a more normal part of a child’s daily life. You can simply read at the same time, or you can read together with your child.

Choose a long book to read and break it up throughout the holiday break. Another option is to choose a book or series of books that you will discuss as a family.

After the book is complete, gather together and discuss the storyline and the characters. This is a great activity to help with reading comprehension. Its help’s children verbalize what happened in the story.

If you read short books, you can do a family book club after each one. If you read longer books together, you can do a family book club every few days. This activity will keep everyone reading over holiday break, including parents and caregivers.

Engage with Follow-up Activities

Reading books is great, but having children complete follow-up activities for their reading is even more important. This keeps them accountable.

Decide on the types of activities you want to include over break. You can do activities every few days, or every single day, if you have time.

Some art activities can include making a bookmark, drawing a book cover, drawing a character, and creating a new character.

Alternatively, you can choose more literacy-based follow-up activities, such as reading comprehension questions. Have children react to the whole story or different parts of a story. They can write their reactions in words or draw a picture.

You can focus on practicing sight words within the stories for younger readers. For more advanced readers, you can focus on the definitions of words within the stories. Short on prep time? No worries, there are free printable worksheets online for all of your reading and literacy needs.

Whether you choose one item from this list or multiple items, the most important thing is not to make this feel like homework! We want children to be excited to read.

What are some other tips to keep kids reading during holiday breaks? Share them with us by commenting below.

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