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Promote Summer Reading

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: How can I get my eleven and fourteen year olds to read this summer? They don't think they need to read when school is out.

A: Teens and preteens aren't too enthusiastic about reading during the summer because they have come to associate reading with schoolwork - not with summer fun. You can point out to them that summer reading is important because it is likely to increase their vocabularies, raise their SAT scores, make reading textbooks easier, improve their writing, help them get better grades, and teach them more about people and the world. Unfortunately, these arguments will not convince many teens and preteens to read.

The secret of turning non-readers into readers is by making reading fun. Your children may have forgotten how entertaining reading can be. Start them back on the path to enjoying reading by reading aloud to them when they are doing chores like washing the dishes or ironing and even while they are eating a meal.

Begin by choosing reading materials that will make them chuckle and even laugh. Remember how they enjoyed "The Cat in the Hat"? They'll find the poems of Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, and Bruce Lansky just as entertaining. Go online to for great lists of books. Plus, Trelease gives solid advice on instilling a love of reading in children.

Once your children are enjoying reading, establish a family reading time of 20 to 30 minutes each day. Right after dinner is a good time. Don't allow any interruptions, and let your children read whatever they want from teen magazines to comic books to mysteries, romances, and adolescent fiction. Read silently or take turns reading a book. Be sure to read some of the books or magazines that they read so you can talk about them together.

Here are some more suggestions on ways to get your children in the reading habit: play books-on-tape in the car; have magazines, including teen magazines, around the house; let your children see you reading for fun; have reading materials in every room of the house (kitchen, bathroom, family room, bedrooms); have your older children read to younger children; and visit libraries and bookstores with your children.

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Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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