Turn Summer Reading Into an Experience for the Senses

Turn Summer Reading Into an Experience for the Senses

This summer, as your kids take a three-month break from school, you as a parent will be faced with a tough decision: How to keep those youngsters occupied until the fall.

While some decisions are obviously better than others, you can opt to take the kids on a traveling vacation, you can send them outside to play, or you can plop them down in front of the TV for 90 days. Please don’t choose the later.

One of the best things you can do to keep your children’s brains active and growing is develop a good summer-reading program in your home. You should encourage your kids to read each day, and you should make time to read with them. However, it’s no secret that getting kids excited about reading over summer break can be a challenge.

If you simply tell your kids to read or even lock them in their rooms for 30 minutes a day, good luck getting them to crack open a book. With friends, sunny skies and plenty of fun waiting just outside the door, it’s awfully easy for your kids to get distracted from the page. To make summer reading more enticing and exciting, try these sensory techniques.

• Try reading at night. When the sun has gone down and their friends have returned home, take advantage of your kids’ attention span by reading with them in the dark. Turn off the lights, maybe make a blanket fort over their bed and use just a lantern or flashlight to illuminate the pages. When there is hardly any visual distraction, it will be much easier for your kids to read and let their imaginations soar.

• Include food and drink. If you’re kids are reading a story that includes, oh say baked goods or a lemonade stand, then incorporate warm cookies or a cold glass of lemonade into reading time. It will get them excited about the story they are reading, and it will makes the experience seem more real. This is great for boosting learning and retention.

• Entice the olfactory senses. It’s been shown that our sense of smell is more closely tied to memory than any of our other senses. We don;t just want our kids to read, we want them to retain what they read. Try some aromatherapy when your kids our reading. Melaleuca essential oils are a good way to go. Then, each time they smell lavender or peppermint down the road, they’ll remember what they read one summer and how fun it was!

— Fred Williams