Q:

What should our family do to improve our children's reading skills this summer? - A Reader

A:

Whatever you do that involves reading this summer will pay great future dividends in every one of your children's classes. Without some work in reading during their vacation, your children's literacy skills are likely to decline.

Parents can do so much in a casual way to improve their children's reading during the summer. Begin now and continue throughout the summer with what we call the "Family Reading Half-Hour." Try to choose the same time each day and make it a seven-day-a-week activity. Immediately after supper works well for many families. During that time, everyone will sit in the same room and read -- no television or phone calls permitted. Parents will sit and read with their children.

Just seeing you read will inspire your children to read. Dr. Ena Shelley of the College of Education at Butler University suggests choosing well-written, attractive, interesting books that will allow the children to experience the joys of being lost in a book. After the reading time is up, family members can resume their usual activities. What is being read doesn't need to be discussed unless family members wish to do so. Hopefully, by the end of the summer everyone in the family will develop into an avid reader. Plus, the more children read, the better they will read.