Reading-A Fun Summer Activity, A Lifelong Gift

A Book by Edgar Guest

“Now” – said a good book unto me –
“Open my pages and you shall see
Jewels of wisdom and treasures fine,
Gold and silver in every line,
And you may claim them if you but will
Open my pages and take your fill.

“Open my pages and run them o’er,
Take what you choose of my golden store.
Be you greedy, I shall not care –
All that you seize I shall gladly spare;
There is never a lock on my treasure doors,
Come – here are my jewels, make them yours!

“I am just a book on your mantel shelf,
But I can be part of your living self;
If only you’ll travel my pages through,
Then I will travel the world with you.
As two wines blended make better wine,
Blend your mind with these truths of mine.

“I’ll make you fitter to talk with men,
I’ll touch with silver the lines you pen,
I’ll lead you nearer the truth you seek,
I’ll strengthen you when your faith grows weak –
This place on your shelf is a prison cell,
Let me come into your mind to dwell!”

Books are friends. The earlier you introduce books to your kids the more likely your kids will learn to love books. Memories are made as we lead our children into the world of imagination found in books. There are so many benefits to developing a child’s imagination. In reading, a child gets to create their own reality of what the characters look like and what the scenery looks like. Building their own strong character occurs as children identify with the heroes they meet in books. Security is transferred to a child who sits still on our lap while we read to them. Love and comfort and snuggle time creates a great bond between kids and parents and kids and their grandparents. As a Gammie, one of my favorite things to do with my grandchildren is to read to them. Watching the way language explosions happens as you read to kids is amazing. Establishing a bedtime routine that includes reading out-loud as a family is a wonderful life treasure. When children are young you can start to see preferences and interests begin to develop as you allow them to chose the books you read to them before bed. As they grow older, you can begin to introduce chapter books and series of books as you read together as a family.  Summer is a fantastic time to open up the world of books to your kids. Adventures to the library are fun outings and during the summer, many libraries have summer reading programs that have incentive programs that increase the fun of reading. You can also start an incentive program in your home. One summer we organized “Around the world with Reading”. We bought a world map and placed it on the wall and tracked our journey around the world as the kids read books all summer. You can have a prize box for different accomplishments or pay them a bit of money as they be working to save to buy something special. One of the best benefits is that reading is relaxing. After a long day at the park or playing in the pool, it is wonderful to have the kids sit quietly for an hour and read. Every mom deserves a break and some quiet time during the long summer days.

Introducing classic literature to children is passing on generational truths, historical trends and a chance to read great works by great authors. As kids listen to stories that tell about the lives of great figures from history it helps them with their own character development. Books open up opportunities to discuss life issues that your kids may be thinking about but do not know how to ask about. If a book is engaging enough, even the teens in your family will buy in and be excited for the family nightly reading tradition that you established for them from when they were young. Susan Schaeffer Macaulay in her book “For the Child’s Sake” encourages reading for the fundamental experience of celebrating life, ” A tiny child loves to be read to. Later on, he will master the art of reading on his own. Then he will be ready to read some of the “real” books for himself”. We have an opportunity as a parent to open up the young minds of our children and give them a new richness, stability and joy for living gained through the experience of reading.

Poppa reading to the Spoelhof girls

Poppa reading to the Ayers kids and Sophie and Garrett (hiding in the Tula baby front pack)

Here are some great resources to help you this summer.

Summer reading lists for school aged kids and teens

Adventures in Odyssey a wonderful alternative to book reading is listening to audio drama that has character development principles tied into each episode. Our kids grew up on the Adventure is Odyssey audio dramas.

Here are two additional links with recommendations and a podcast that includes more resources to help you in your commitment to establishing reading as one of your family traditions.

Summer reading for kids from Family Life Today

Summer reading for adults from Family Life Today

A great resource to help you develop your own family’s reading list is a book called Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt. You can buy it off amazon by clicking the link below.

My favorite resource book: “Books Children Love” by Elizabeth Wilson-buy it here.

What are your favorite children’s books?