The Answer to the Summer Doldrums
For kids the summer break may seem to take forever to arrive and then it whizzes by in the blink of an eye. At least, that's how they remember it.
They don't remember the long days when they had no activity organized and friends were busy or away on vacation. That's when you are likely to hear, "Mom, I'm boooorrrred!".
You know that even with all the extra running around you do, taking them to day camp, to the beach or to the park, you can't fill every minute of those long summer weeks with activity and entertainment. And nor should you.
All that down time is great for encouraging kids to read. And I don't mean read the texts on their mobile phones. No, good old fashioned print-on-paper books are the answer to the summer doldrums.
Benefits of Books
There are lots of benefits to learning to read at an early age. Not least, is the academic advantage of strong literacy skills but reading also encourages neurological development and there are psychological benefits too. Children who read are shown to have greater self-confidence and independence. They thrive creatively and have a greater imagination and curiosity. All great reasons for encouraging your child to read. Another benefit which tends not to be mentioned in the research papers is the uncanny ability of a good book to get kids out from under your feet through those long weeks of summer break!
Here are a few suggestions of classic children's books and book series from authors that have a unique way of reaching kids through humor and fantasy. Finding a book collection that appeals to your child can spark a love of reading that will last a lifetime.
Children's books by Roald Dahl are in a class of their own. His fertile imagination brought us Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach and The BFG among many others.
As he said of his own writing in the New York Times, "Children are highly critical. And they lose interest so quickly. You have to keep things ticking along. And if you think a child is getting bored, you must think up something that jolts it back. Something that tickles. You have to know what children like."
Dahl has written 17 novels for children and three books of kids' poetry as well as a further 28 books of fiction and non-fiction for adults.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books series is written by American author and cartoonist Jeffrey Kinney. The series started life online as a daily diary entry from 'wimpy kid' Greg Haffley. Diary of a Wimpy Kid was first published in 2007 and it was an instant hit.
There have been sixteen books published in the collection so far - including two movie diaries and a Do It Yourself book.
The series won a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award for Favorite Book in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016. While the books can each stand-alone, they are best read in sequence as to experience life through Greg's eyes as he deals with school, spots, girls and growing up.
Harry Potter Series
Harry Potter needs no introduction. Even kids that have never voluntarily cracked open a book will be familiar with the muggles and magic folk who inhabit J.K. Rowling's universe. The movies are so popular that it almost seems as if the books themselves have been forgotten.
But, as anyone who has ever seen a movie knows after reading a book, the movies are always a pale comparison to the rich world created in the mind of a reader. Can you believe that the first of the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was published 20 years ago!
Atlas of Adventures Series
For kids (or parents) who would rather learn about the wonderful world we live in, the Atlas of Adventures books cover cultures, festivals, landmarks, and great adventures of both the human and animal world.
The books are beautifully illustrated and each covers different aspects of our fascinating planet. The one above is described as an awe-inspiring journey of discovery around the world showcasing the globe's most impressive landscapes, iconic buildings, and evocative antiquities from both the modern and ancient worlds.
Even adults are comforted by the familiar feel of a much-loved book. The smell and weight of it and the way it falls open at favorite passages is like the smile of an old friend. The best of books are kept like treasures and read over and over again.
If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.
• Oscar Wilde
Packing a child's favorite book in their luggage when they are off on a new adventure whether that might be summer camp, a new school or a relocation to another part of the country can give them a feeling of continuity and safety. This summer, encourage your child's love of literature and reading by providing books that feed their creativity, imagination, and thirst for knowledge. And at the same time, you can help them start a collection of beloved books to carry them into adulthood by making sure your kid's books are clearly labeled and identified so they do not get lost. Starlight Labels has a wide range of colorful and customizable stick-on labels that are ideal for this job.