Mom reading to child

Reading should be a life-long habit.

Once the school year ends, kids shouldn't be abandoning their books for the entire summer break. They should continue reading year-round.

Some students get assigned books to read during the summer. But if your child hasn't been assigned anything, give them the freedom of choice to read whatever they want. Take them to the library to pick out a book on a subject they enjoy. This will get them more willing and excited to read.

Parents can visit Common Sense Media to read a summary about the book their child picks out and make sure it's appropriate for their age.

Another way to keep students reading is to read the same book they are. Discuss the book and ask each other question, including "What was your favorite part?" "What do you think of that character?" "Can you believe what this character did?" As an added bonus, you'll get in some good bonding time, too!

It's good to get into the habit of setting aside reading time each day — whether you are reading your own book or the same one as your child. This time doesn't have to be just for reading either. Kids can fill in workbooks, write in a journal or draw.

Trying to figure out a good time to set aside for reading? Try first thing in the morning, after dinner or before bed. These are all good times to hit the books. Make sure this a fun time for all of you. Read a page of a novel or a picture book to each other and pick your favorite part of a book to share. Read for a set amount of time and then reward yourselves with physical activity.

Another good way to get kids excited about reading during the summer is to have a reading contest in your home. Create or print out a reading log where kids can fill out the number of pages they read per day or per month. You can create incentives or make it a healthy competition.

If you have a child who is having a hard time reading books during the summer, try reading a book that has been turned into a movie, such as the Harry Potter books. Boost their motivation by offering to take your student to the movie or rent the movie once they finish the book.

Reading over the summer can help improve spelling, vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. Whether reading together or alone, reading can help improve academic and social skills. Much like sports, students must keep their abilities sharp and practice their reading skills.

Happy summer break!

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Angee (Henry) Nott is a former University of Nebraska track athlete who was a three-time Big 12 champion and a 10-time All-American. She was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. She has coached track and cross country at Boys Town High School since 2004, where she is also an English teacher. She continues to empower her students to reach their potential on the track and in the classroom.

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