Winter break is approaching and for children that means…no school! Even though they will be free from formal lessons, it doesn’t mean that their education has to go “on hold.” Here are some fun activities that incorporate reading and writing without having to hear “I am on vacation; I don’t want to do it!”
1. Set up “read-a-thons.” Pick a time of day to curl up on the sofa or big bed and read together. Take turns reading pages out of one book or choose individual books. The important part is that the whole family is participating.
2. Create Competitions. Challenge your young readers to a contest to see who can read more. Keep track of the number of pages read and/or time spent reading. Children take a lot of pride in “beating” mom and dad.
3. Write a story together. Spend time together by creating a story. Start with “T’was the night before Christmas when….” Or “One winter’s day…” and let your imaginations roll.
4. Keep a journal. Every day, have family members write brief summaries of the fun, winter activities they have experienced and what they are looking forward to doing the next day. Before bed, have your child read out loud what he or she has written that day.
5. Bake or cook. Pick out fun recipes to make together and have your child read the ingredients and steps aloud. It is a good way to sneak in reading and have a favorite treat.
6. Create a schedule. Make reading a priority. Set aside a specific time each day to read and keep it consistent. First thing in the morning would be ideal, before any fun activities wear your little one out.
7. Present a “surprise book” each night. Let your child have something to look forward to at bedtime. During the day, create a game in which children try to guess what the book will be about that night. There is no need to buy a book for each day; check out a stack from the library and keep them hidden.
8. Create incentives. Before summer break begins, discuss with your children something that they can individually earn by reading 20 minutes a day. Create a chart to track their progress each day. In turn, they will feel a sense of achievement.
9. Create a game. Stop reading at any point and have your child, without showing where you are in the text, jump in and finish the paragraph. If your child does not know where you are immediately, that’s a point for you; however, if your child jumps right in, he or she earns the point. Keep track of points to determine a winner at the end.
10. Find books that coordinate with activities of the day. For instance, if you are going ice skating, find a book about a famous ice hockey player or figure skater; if you are sledding, find a book about a blizzard; if you are watching a movie, find a book about Hollywood.