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Reading & Language

Summer Reading Tips for Parents of Babies, Toddlers and Young Children

Mother and toddler read outside

Summer offers many unique opportunities to weave literacy into everyday activities with your child. Beach trips, swimming in a pool or family barbecues provide ideal opportunities for conversation, book reading and looking at letters—skills that will help your child become a reader and writer later in life. Try some of these tips for making your young child’s summer full of literacy fun.

  • Be a reader yourself. When you read newspapers and books and write letters and lists, you show your young child how reading and writing are useful. By demonstrating why reading and writing are important, you will motivate your child to become a reader and writer.
  • Set aside a consistent time each day for reading aloud. Choose a read-aloud time that fits your family’s summer schedule and stick to it every day. Your baby, toddler or young child will look forward to this special time together.
  • Connect read-aloud choices to summer activities. Read your child a book about the beach, such as “Sea, Sand, Me!” before or after a beach trip, or read “The Very Lonely Firefly” after your child discovers fireflies at a family cookout. When you read and discuss books about things your child has experienced, you help him learn important vocabulary and extend his understanding of experiences.
  • Check out summer programs at your local public library. Many feature special story times, sing-alongs and puppet shows during the summer. These programs offer fun opportunities for your child to expand his literacy-related skills.
  • Look at letters and words as you enjoy summer activities. As you walk to the park, point out stop signs and letters in street signs. When you visit the local pool, point out the list of pool rules. Let your child draw and write with chalk on the sidewalk. By drawing your child’s attention to print and letters, you teach her about specific letters and words while pointing out the many uses of print.
  • Take books along on outings. Pack some board books in your beach bag or picnic basket, and bring a stack of books on long car rides. You and your child can enjoy books together anywhere you go this summer.

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