Here are 3 easy ways to keep reading social while social distancing
The cancellation of events has left everyone disappointed at points throughout the past year, and that list of most missed gatherings looks a little different for everyone. For me, it has been the cancellation of two fundraising luncheons that annually bring together authors and readers. I’m what you might call an extroverted reader. By looking at the number of books I consume each year, it’s clear that I value alone time to read and recharge. On the flip side, I have a big appetite for talking with others about what I’ve read, what I’m reading, and what I plan to read. Since gathering with reader friends for discussion hasn’t been an option, I’ve been relying on technology to satisfy my need to connect with other readers.
Here are three ways that I’ve been able to keep reading social while social distancing. All the strategies below would work for any grownup committed to modeling the life of a reader for the young people in their lives — teachers, librarians, coaches, school administrators, literacy advocates, and parents. Talking about books is what readers do!
ILA and NCTE, like other professional associations, have pivoted to virtual programming through the pandemic. I’ve enjoyed keeping on top of new titles, learning about emerging writers, and making new reader friends through various web events that both ILA and NCTE affiliates have hosted. Most of these events have been free, and even if you can’t be present for a live event you can typically sign up to view the recording later.
Commit to Goodreads
I’ve become somewhat of an unpaid ambassador for this social media platform over the years as I’ve pressured countless friends and family members to join. It’s because I’m a believer! With Goodreads, I’m able to quickly assess how reader friends in Chicago and California rated and reviewed the same title. I’m always eager to learn if others loved a book as much as I did or shared the same frustrations. For grownups not interested in Goodreads, start a text message thread with friends you know who prioritize reading. Three local friends and I have text messaged non-stop since the pandemic began. We snap photos of library hold arrivals and coordinate book drop-offs on each others’ front porches. These phone messages have been welcome day brighteners.
Follow favorite authors on social media
Since book tours and author events haven’t been a possibility for the past twelve months, more writers are turning to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to generate interest in their recent publications. I now have the habit of immediately following an author on social media after finishing a book I love. It’s fun to see who in my circles of friends and colleagues is following the same author, and occasionally I’ll tag a writer to share my praise. It’s a thrill to hear back from an admired author or to receive a like on a post. Following authors writers on social media is also a great way to be alerted to upcoming releases.
There will always be something to be said for discussing the latest bestseller or celebrity book club selection over a shared plate of appetizers. Until groups of friends and colleagues can again safely convene in person to talk about books, consider how virtual author events, social media platforms, and text messaging apps can keep readers connected with other readers. There is no reason to not keep reading social while social distancing!
Kids Read Now would like to thank Kristin for her guest blog contribution. If you have any questions about the Kids Read Now in-home reading program, please contact us.
During meetings, are you a notetaker? I often find myself scribbling down notes throughout a meeting only to never refer to them again, simply because I remember what is on them. The act of writing down the information helps my brain convert it to long term memory. The same thing happens when children write. Even more importantly, it helps teach their brains HOW to remember. This is called the “Retrieval Effect” and it’s why practice tests work to help you study for the big test in school.
When you write about a topic, it strengthens your memory and helps you make connections and have deeper thoughts about the subject. As you write, and you think about what you want to write, you begin to weigh the importance of different aspects of the topic. Professor Steven Graham of the Arizona State University Teaching College found—after compiling over 56 studies—that writing “reliably enhanced learning” in science, social studies, and math.
When you ask a student to write about a topic, it helps them demonstrate their comprehension on that topic and reveals gaps in their knowledge. Low stakes writing exercises are a great way to allow free flow thinking and encourage those connections to come to the surface. A low stake writing exercise has no right or wrong answer and is not about spelling or grammar. You are just trying out new ideas. When you remove the pressure of being “right”, you encourage students to find their voice and see the value in their ideas. Ask questions like, “What do you notice?” or, “What’s one thing you know and one question you have?” to help develop an inner dialogue.
MyStories is a writing prompt book developed by Kids Read Now as a fun and engaging set of low stakes writing exercises. Each page has a colorful picture and an area for writing. There’s no right or wrong way for students to use these books. It’s the perfect activity to get students’ creative juices flowing. Visit kidsreadnow.org for more tips on engaging with your children through reading and writing!
If you’re a reader, you’re familiar with the pull of another world. You’ve slipped into other lives to become fairies and dragon slayers, adventurers, and heroes. Now you want your child to experience new adventures and far-off lands, while tucked safely in their beds at home. Opening the door for them shouldn’t be stressful. I promise—there is a book out there they’ll LOVE.
A fantastic way to start is to dive into a book you’ll both love! I have a long-time connection with audio books. I’d go on car rides with my aunt who would check out books from the library to listen to in the car— quickly becoming absorbed in the story, riding across an ancient tundra with Ayla of the Zelandonii or on the back of Saphira the sapphire blue dragon through the skies of Alagesia. The habit of listening to audio books has lasted well into adulthood for me, a supplement when I don’t have the time to get cozy and turn the pages myself.
This is a great option for any level reader, because all you have to do is enjoy and be swept away! Listening to a story adds another tool to your vocabulary belt; the reader doesn’t skip those difficult to pronounce words. You and your child get to hear the word pronounced and used correctly. Without hearing the name of the place out loud, you don’t know if Superman lives in Metro-polis or Met-trop-olis. Hearing the words spoken out loud has helped me, as an adult, increase my vocabulary and feel more confident in my word usage.
Most libraries have an extensive audio and eBook collection. Both formats can be used on a mobile device or computer. If your local library doesn’t have an electronic collection, a larger library will generally allow you to get a card online 24/7 and check out titles whenever you want. Your library will probably recommend an app for easier connection to their collection. I use one called Overdrive.
Once you have the means, try out some books! There are as many “types” of books as there are stars in the sky but don’t feel overwhelmed! Start with topics that you know your child likes. Do they like mystery, adventure, true stories? Let them help you narrow down the choices. Giving your child the chance to choose the story will help keep him or her more interested.
A few tips:
Look for a book with a main character around the same age as your own child, this will give them an immediate connection to that character.
Children also connect well to the viewpoint of an animal as a main character, as most children spend hours pretending to be one animal or another. My daughter thoroughly enjoys acting like a pterodactyl every chance she gets.
As you discover together which worlds fit the best, encourage your child to spend some cozy time reading. Treat books like treasures and search for gems together at garage sales and thrift stores. Give and receive books as gifts.
My last big tip is, if you don’t like the story, pick a different one! Found a book you like and want more? Ask your local librarian for books that are similar so you can start another journey.
Here’s a fun and engaging ‘book titles’ game to play with your kids on long car trips
Looking back at my childhood, I remember taking road trips with my family (this is well before there were DVDs, let alone CDs or other entertainment systems in cars) and we had to find ways to pass the time as the corn stalks and rolling hills rushed past the windows. Reading books in the car never worked for me as it would as I had car sickness, but we would play games about books.
My mom, dad, sister, and I would each take turns going around the car naming book titles, but the last letter of the title had to be the first letter for the next person. “Fox in Socks” would then queue “Sneetches”. Since that one started and ended with an “S”, the order reversed. It was a great game to help pass the time, but after a while, we would end up always going through the same 30 books or so. So we needed a way to expand and get into more titles (since there is rarely a word that ends in “I” so I was never able to play my favorite book, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”.)
My sister suggested that instead of using the ending letter to start the new title, and since we were working on the orders of our alphabet, she suggested that we take however many letters are in the last word, and add it to the last letter and that becomes the starting letter. For instance; “Where the Wild Things Are” the last letter is “E” and there are three letters in “Are”, so from “E” you go three letters forward to get “H” and that is the next starting letter. This method really helped expand the game, and we could keep it going for hours and almost never repeating a title.
Now that I have children of my own, and take them on road trips, my wife and I have picked up these same past-time games. It really encourages them to read more, learn more titles, and has improved their overall reading abilities. I have seen their vocabulary grow just by them picking up a new book once a week. For every new book they pick up, there will undoubtedly be a new word in there that my kiddos will read, absorb, and use in conversation. But their knowledge of titles continues to grow.
Kids Read Now can help every child build his or her very own home library with popular and diverse titles for years to come! For more information about the Kids Read Now in-home reading programs and how we can help make reading fun for children, please reach out to us.
How to encourage kids to learn to love reading now, for a lifetime’s worth of benefits
Learning to read is arguably one of the most fundamental lessons learned as a child. Helping your children to learn to love reading is one of the most valuable gifts they can receive.
Reading doesn’t have to be chore or an assignment and some children may be reluctant to read if it’s presented as such. Allow your child to find the magic and adventure waiting just behind every book cover and soon reading will be an imagination destination that your child craves!
Encourage Your Child to Enjoy Reading
At Kids Read Now, we know that the readers today are the leaders of tomorrow. Students reading at grade level by third grade are less likely to struggle as they move forward through life. Here are some ways you can spark your child’s interest in reading.
Give them choices
Kids love choices because it puts them in charge and gives them a sense of empowerment. Giving kids the choice of what to read is one of the first step in creating a lifelong reader. Our summer reading program allows students to select which books they want to read, and we’ve found that students who select their own books are much more likely to read them!
Reading together encourages your child’s reading habits and creates time for family bonding! This is the time to use silly character voices, so let your imaginations run wild together! Children of all ages can benefit from bedtime stories, so read to your child or encourage him or her to read to you. If your child is passed the “reading aloud” phase, pick a chapter book or novel you can read together.
This option will give older readers a sense of independence and responsibility in preparing to discuss the book with you. You may find that some of their choices are just as entertaining and interesting to you as they are to your kids. Select a chapter each night to compare your thoughts about what occurred and what might happen the next day.
Encourage daily reading
The best way to make reading a habit is to encourage it daily! Try to set a specific time aside each day when the whole family participates in reading. During this time, try to eliminate distractions like TV, music, or other household chores, and focus only on reading. Set a timer for 15 minutes and relax with a good book!
Discuss the books they read
Invite your children to tell you about the books they’ve read. Ask them if they can relate to the book and how they might act as the main character. This is a great time to help your children relate the book to themselves, their world, other books, and really get creative with the details! Every Kids Read Now book includes a Discovery Sheet, which is a great tool for sparking an active discussion.
Offer praise for completing books
When your child completes a book, celebrate! Tell your child how proud you are of him or her and do something fun, such as having a mini dance party at home or visiting the library to get the next adventure. Excitement is contagious and reinforces reading as fun and positive behavior. If you are interested in learning more about our program, please reach out to us for more information.
Do you think you know what kind of reader you are? We are certain your personality and reading style go hand in hand!
This ten-question quiz will score your answer and name you a Weekend Warrior, An Intellectual, A Book Juggler, a Re-Reader, or a Series Lover.
Take the Quiz
You have an hour to spend at the bookstore, where do you start?
c. Browse all of the genres
d. In the middle of all my favorites
Choose the word that best connects to you or describes you the best.
b. Curious, always learning
You have to read one book from cover to cover, today. Which will it be?
a. A fun, uplifting title
b. Tale of Two Cities
c. I have to choose one?
d. A classic I’ve read at least 10 times
What’s your favorite kind of book?
a. A quick and easy title
b. One that’s entertaining and enlightening
c. One that keeps me sucked in
d. An easy one to read over and over again
Which would you like to do at recess?
a. Get ahead on reading my new book
b. Dive into learning something new from a challenging title
c. Run around to burn off all of the extra energy
d. Discuss what I’ve discovered in my most recent book re-read
What do you look for when choosing a book?
a. A page-turner that keeps me interested
b. A challenge and something to learn from
c. A book that keeps my attention
d. One that begs to take me back again and again
How many classics have you read?
a. All of them – usually in one sitting
b. Too many to count
c. I’m in between many
d. Many of them are still on repeat
What your favorite way to read a book?
a. Old-fashioned book
c. E-reader, so I can take all the books wherever I go
d. All of the above
Your favorite author comes out with a new book, you:
a. Run to the bookstore and never put the book down until you are done
b. Brew a cup of tea and dive in
c. I don’t have a favorite author. I love all of them!
d. Race to the bookstore
What’s your bookmark of choice?
a. What bookmark? I never put a book down long enough to mark a page.
b. An old tattered bookmark that’s seen as many books as you!
c. I have many
d. Anything from my favorite series
A Weekend Warrior
If you answered mostly “A”, you are a Weekend Warrior! Those big chapter books are no match for your weekend binge sesh. You enjoy diving in and not coming up for air until the very last word! Extra challenging chapter books are your jam!
If you answered mostly “B”, you are an Intellectual Reader! You enjoy pushing yourself to learn about literature, history, poetry, science, and more. You stretch your imagination and reading comprehension skills and can’t wait to share what you’ve learned with your fellow intellectuals.
A Book Juggler
If you answered mostly “C”, you are a Book Juggler! There are stacks of books on your nightstand ranging across all different genres – everything from adventures to history. You never can make up your mind about which to pick up or put down, so you taste test all of them!
A Series Lover
If you answered mostly “D”, you are a Series Lover! The continuation of stories keeps you sucked in and dying for more. The only thing you don’t like about books is having to wait for the next book in the series to be released!
If you answered a mix of all choices, you are a Re-Reader. You love all kinds of books and keep them on a steady rotation. You find books relatable and comfortable, and some of your best friends reside in the book universe!
Want a fun way to encourage your kids to read? Make it into a reading BINGO game!
Summertime should be a fun experience in a child’s life, but with the world’s uncertainties and extended time away from the classroom, our kids are glued to screens more and books less. As a result, experts are concerned that children will fall behind even more so than usual.
So, how can we keep kids motivated to read more?
At Kids Read Now, we put our heads together to come up with an exciting way to engage students and motivate them to pick up a book… Reading Bingo!
Reading Bingo is just like the classic bingo game, except that it encourages kids to try different and fun reading challenges. With the goal of completing the bingo card, kids will be eager to push through the various options. They might even find new books they enjoy!
Reading Bingo Printable
Kids don’t have to view reading as a school-time obligation. Reading is an imaginative adventure! By providing choices to a child with specific reading goals, we can help empower them to make fun and creative reading choices.
Here’s how the bingo card works:
Each box on the card has a different reading challenge. They include teaching moments, genres, emotional tools, and more! These different options encourage kids to explore new books and ways to read them.
You select the time frame. Depending on how advanced your child’s reading level is, you may choose to challenge them to longer chapter books over several weeks or keep it short and sweet for a boost in self-esteem.
Your child works toward completing one row at a time. After each “bingo,” the child gets a small reward.
Ideas for Reading Rewards
Kids get super excited when they have something to work toward with a prize at the finish line.
When your child has completed a bingo, make sure to reward them for their hard work! Rewards aren’t bribes, and they don’t have to be big-ticket items, but an opportunity for kids to reap the benefits of working toward a goal.
Here are some reward ideas:
Ice cream date with mom and dad
Choosing the dinner menu or restaurant
A new book off of their wish list
A day date with mom and dad
A challenging puzzle, LEGO set, or game
Trying new things can be hard for kids, but with a little encouragement of a grand prize and the time you spend together while they’re working towards their bingo goal, you will have a bookworm on your hands in no time!
At Kids Read Now, we know our students like to have fun while learning, and it’s up to us to make that possible. Motivation is key, especially when regular school schedules have been disrupted.
A new incentive like the Reading Bingo game might be the answer to keeping your child on track this summer.
A vacation and a good book – name a more iconic duo! Books can go anywhere you go and can take you to more places than you could imagine!
Reading is essential to us here at Kids Read Now. Reading awakens children’s minds, sparks creativity, and provides an escape to another world, full of imagination!
As you begin packing for your next vacation, encourage your kids to pick out a few books to take with them. Empower them by giving them the option of choosing which books to take along. Choice goes a long way to creating an independent and encouraged reader!
In fact, many studies show when children self-select titles, they are more likely to read, comprehend, and enjoy the book.
Tips for reading on vacation with your child
Books can go anywhere you go: road trips, camping adventures, beach lazy days, mountain getaways, or even a staycation in your backyard. They never need batteries or a charger, and they are a great way to reduce stress, relax, and keep your mind active.
During our summer program, every book includes a Discovery Sheet on the inside of the front cover that encourages children to relate the book to other books, to themselves, and to the world around them. Families can easily replicate the same process on their own and join in on the fun with their books.
Here are a few tips for encouraging reading on vacation:
Read the same book. Especially if your child is reading chapter books, grab an extra copy for yourself! Talk about character differences and the plot of the story to get a glimpse into their imagination.
Ask questions about the book they are reading. Questions don’t have to feel like pop quizzes! Have conversations with your children about the book they are reading. Ask them what the book is about, favorite characters, and what is happening in the current chapter. Be curious, and your child will be open to sharing.
Give guidelines around book selection. Ask your child to choose different kinds of books to take on vacation. Examples include educational, imaginative, or a more challenging title.
Make reading a choice. While it’s important to encourage reading as a daily habit, don’t force the reading mandate. If children are required to read a specific title within a particular timeframe, it may become more of a battle for the parents and a chore for the child. As children are encouraged to make independent choices, they will be able to discern what they enjoy learning more about and choose books based on their preferences. Remember those studies about choice we mentioned above?
Vacations are a temporary escape from reality; a time to relax and let your mind wander – just like books. They should be enjoyed and revisited whenever possible. As you prepare for your next adventure, remember to add a few good books to your list, too.
Transform your summer reading program
Kids Read Now is proven to effectively reverse the summer reading slide and start students on a journey to better grades and a lifelong love of reading.
About Our Team
We work hard every day to give our customers the best programs to keep kids growing during the summer to keep them from falling victim to the summer slide.