How to help kids develop a life-long passion for reading

pile of booksAs summer is approaching, now is a great time to think of how you can get your child engaged in reading during summer break. Some of the most powerful and influential time you can spend with your child is reading aloud with them, and summer road trips are the perfect times to captivate your child with the magic of reading.

Long car rides to summer vacation spots can be an extremely valuable time for “reading aloud” to your child via books on tape.  (Turning around and reading to children in the back seat can be both challenging and uncomfortable!)

In the weeks leading up to summer, start thinking ahead about getting some human-read books on tape. Your local library will likely have a section dedicated to this genre of books. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your summer vacation reading:

  • In choosing what books you plan to listen to, involve your child. If your child is “invested” in the book, he or she will be more attentive from the beginning.
  • But also consider something that will appeal to the whole family, as I highly encourage this to be an interactive, full-family activity.
  • Try finding a book that has a plot that is discussable and thought-provoking.
  • While listening in the car, take time to stop the recording and discuss it, perhaps after every chapter. This will help keep your child engaged and excited for the next chapter!

But, also remember that summer offers more reading opportunities than simply car rides! Summer means longer evenings, more light, and a chance to use those precious summer evenings to accomplish something magical. Set up some family rules for keeping the TV off and the books open. Using the last hour of the day as family read-aloud time is a great idea. Make this your sacred time to cuddle up and enjoy the wonders of reading.

In your preparation for summer reading, I also suggest reading Jim Trelease’s classic, The Read-Aloud Handbook. It exposes the benefits and importance of reading aloud to children and offers proven techniques and strategies for helping children discover the pleasures of reading. Not to mention, the last part of the Read-Aloud Handbook is an anthology of books that are powerful for reading aloud.

For more on reading aloud, see my recent post on shared inquiry.

Lexercise’s online services for struggling readers, writers, and spellers are a motivating blend of high-touch and high-tech. If you have questions or to learn more contact me at or 1-919-747-4557.

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Sandie Barrie Blackley, MA/CCC

MA/CCC - Cofounder and CKO

Sandie is a speech-language pathologist with more than 30 years of experience in the private practice sector. She is Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at University of North Carolina Greensboro, and founder/owner of the Language & Learning Clinic, PLLC, a private practice in Elkin, NC, and Greensboro, NC, specializing in communication disorders, including disorders of reading and written language.