Laura Kiefer, a reading specialist at Fairfield Elementary School in Maumee Ohio says that first of all, it’s important to be up front with students about the value of reading.
“I’m straightforward with the kids I work with,” Mrs. Keifer said. She tells them that “If you don’t read over the summer, you won’t be as strong a reader. There is nothing wrong with telling them it will help them be better readers.”
To accomplish that goal, summer reading is necessary, she said, and what Mrs. Keifer herself has learned is to urge children to read for about 10 minutes daily for each grade level. For example, she said it’s way better for pupils leaving the third grade to read 30 minutes a day than to push them to try to read for an hour each week.
Mrs. Keifer wants parents to remember that children don’t always have to be reading formal books.
“Encourage them to read signs, or menus, or different things they see,” she said. “It’s important to make it fun, too. The more access they have to books, the better.”
That means not merely placing books on the home’s bookshelf. Put them throughout the house, such as in the kitchen, bathroom, as well as in bed, living, and family rooms, she said. And there are better ways to foster a love of reading in a child than to have him or her sit in a chair at her desk to read or to stay in his room to read.
“It’s very important that children view reading in a positive light,” Mrs. Keifer said.