“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty. It should be offered as a gift.” – Kate DiCamillo.

Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook, Eight Edition, recommends making summer reading a requirement and giving young readers the power to choose what will pique and sustain their interest.  Self-selecting and reading for pleasure are powerful and foundational motivators for lifelong readers.  Here are some questions to consider:

How do we read?  What counts as reading?  

Remember books aren’t the only way to read.  Newspapers, comics, magazines, games, and audiobooks are all ways to “read”.  For young children, holding a book, turning pages, understanding the way we read text, and looking at pictures are all important parts of early literacy skills.  

What encourages us to read?  

Think about what will make an optimal reading environment at home.  Are there a variety of reading materials lying around for the family to discover?  Think about creating a reading nook (make it cozy and welcoming and make reading independently and together a daily routine.  Model reading to and for your keiki—show them all the ways you enjoy reading (however that looks for you) and read out loud!

What to read?  

Series books, comics, and graphic novels are perennial favorites that encourage readers to keep reading.  Let your children’s interests guide your selection.  Venture outside of your comfort zone.  Try wordless picture books, narrative non-fiction, and juvenile biographies.  The goal of summer reading is to encourage exploration, discovery, and experimentation.

Visit www.librarieshawaii.org and click on the “Read” tab to find recommendations for all ages and try out Novelist, a database of books and curated lists that helps you create your own reading lists.  Stop by your local library to sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge and talk with a librarian.  Check out How to Raise a Reader by Pamela Paul and Maria Russo and Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook, Eighth Edition for more inspiration.

by Jessica Gleason, Bookmobile Librarian