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How to Keep Kids Reading All Summer Long

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Kids often don’t want to read when school is out for the summer, but there are several ways to pique their interest.

“We have a program here called 'All Summer Long' and it’s called that because we want kids to come in to the library all summer long. We’ve got programs, we have story time and we’ve got books galore. And there’s always something going on at the library to spark their interest,” Community Engagement Librarian Sue Woody said.

Merrill Middle School Vice Principal Diane Kehm said it’s important for parents to lead by example when it comes to reading.

“Parents and guardians should be good models. And if our students see their adults in their lives reading, they’re going to be more apt to pick up a book or read something other than social media on their phones, tablets or whatever other devices they’re using,” Kehm said.

Kehm added, another way to get kids to read or practice math skills on a daily basis is to get in a routine and read for a short amount of time each day.

“Fifteen to 20 minutes per day will help. Getting them into a routine is the best way to keep them reading,” Kehm said.

Summer reading programs that have an incentive or a reward helps to get less-excited kids to read over the summer.

“There are both adult and children’s reading programs over the summer. Kids can pick up a sheet and check off a book every time they do 20 minutes of reading and once they complete the sheet they bring it back and receive a book as a reward. It’s a fun way to keep them reading,” Woody said.

Kehm said it’s also important to brush up on math skills and Des Moines Public Schools has an online program available to students year-round.

“The Aleks math program is an online program kids can use year-round. They can spend just a little bit of time on it each day and keep their minds fresh,” Kehm said.

Woody added it is important for parents to lead by example.

“Take an arm full of books with you on vacation and talk to them about what you, the parent, are reading. That will make your kids want to read more,” Woody said.