How to Get Kids to Read Over the Summer

POSTED ON Jun 17th 2014 BY LESLIE LOFTIS UNDER Gadgets and Techology, Housewifery, How To, Uncategorized

3f39124128a0b45abeb59010.LIf Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pitts? My mom had Erma Bombeck’s book on her nightstand for months. I loved the graphics on the cover. I asked her what it was about, but I don’t remember her telling me. I just remember getting interested in books. Maybe Bombeck’s book planted the seed of my parenting by bowl of apples theory. I explained it a little here in the context of news and ideas, but I use it for everything. Now thinking about it, I wish I had used a cherry analogy, because of mom’s Bombeck book, and because I like cherries, and so does my husband who made me this cherry bowl that sits out instead of a bowl of apples whenever stone fruits are in season.



Parenting by bowl of cherries. It works particularly well for books. Obviously, this is for once the kids have a little reading skill going. The bowl of cherries doesn’t work instantly, mind. I set the books out and they might go untouched for months. But if I am patient, it works every time. (I just went to take a picture of the Silverstein books that I have in the bathroom basket. Found them in the twins’ beds instead. They had swiped them for nighttime reading last night.)

Attractive graphics to catch their attention and classic texts to keep it

Specific fruit analogy aside, I have a few book series to recommend to scatter all about the house in attractive nooks or forts. Make the nooks. Provide the books. Back away. Let them surprise you.

It does help to do a long tablet holiday. It’s summer. Go old school and cut off electronics except when you are making dinner. Yeah, I know that’s easier said that done, but it’s only really bad for the first three days the first time. Think sleep training or pacifier weaning.

Usborne illustrated books

I found these while in the UK. I now have multiple copies of a few because the children have read them so much, have packed them in so many suitcases (which is a pain as they aren’t light) that some of them fell apart. I recommend the lift the flap books, the story collections, the art books—all of them. Just check the Amazon reviews for the stray, ‘not up to Usborne standards’ review thread.

UPDATE: A few weeks later, I can report another Usborne success story added to family lore. Terremoto, 6, had the Dickens collection. Calvin, 10, and HGClaudia, 8, started complaining because she can’t read well yet. She was just following the pictures, they protested. They wanted the book to continue reading Oliver Twist from Yasha’s reading the night before. They convinced Terremoto to do something else, looked up what they wanted about Oliver Twist and then started reading David Copperfield together. Calvin reads faster than HGClaudia, so after about 20 minutes, they started bickering over who got the book. By this point, I’d had enough of all the bickering over a book and so told them that there were plenty of books around the house, to which HGClaudia whined, “Yes, but only one of them is Dickens!”

Usborne, I highly recommend Usborne.

Library table arrangement of children's books

Great illustrated classics

These are out of print but easy to find used. These are cheap newsprint copies, not heirloom quality, but for laying about the house and drawing a curious eye, they are hard to beat. They didn’t make the shot above. They are face up next to the adventure stories.

[Poet] For Young People

I stumbled upon these about 2 years ago. Lovely and appropriate for the poet artwork illustrations, biography and poem background, and of course poetry. I have a stack of them next to the remote control. Don’t laugh, sometimes they flip on the TV and then flip though one of these.

Poetry for Young People

For apps I use Free Books. My daughter actually discovered Jane Austen this way. It is worth our time to put the good stuff where ever they might stumble upon it. I also recommend the Encyclopedia Britannica Kids apps. There are only a half-dozen or so and they aren’t free, but they are very cool. I play them sometimes.



On Teaching Liberal Arts to Teenagers

On The Trouble with Tablets

A modern day take on the Bowl of Cherries? The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club

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