The ‘summer toboggan’ is the tendency for children to lose their academic skills during the long, sunny, warmer months when school is closed. A lot of parents I know (including me!) Feel lucky if their kids have made any kind of academic progress during this crazy year. So the idea that more learning could be lost makes the “summer slide” look less like a ride on neighborhood park equipment and more like a terrifying merry-go-round.
Fortunately, there is an easy way to prevent – or at least mitigate – the downward trajectory: reading! Reading exercises the brain, improves vocabulary and language patterns, develops empathy, increases attention span, decreases aggression, and increases test scores. Here are nine products to help your kids keep reading this summer.
1. The Epic app is like Netflix for books
As a school librarian, I have seen the magic of Epic firsthand. Many educators use this “Netflix for Books” as part of their teaching and I can understand why. With over 40,000 popular, highly interesting and award-winning books in its library, as well as a parallel read feature, it appeals to both the most reluctant and satisfying the most voracious readers. Unlike other apps, your kids will likely be able to find the books all of their friends are talking about. There really is something for everyone, and it’s a lot cheaper than constantly buying the next book in the series.
Get three epic months for $ 9.99
2. A cool reading light that doubles as a bookmark
There is something simply magical about reading in the dark at one light. When I gifted reading lights as part of my take-out library program, parents sent me pictures of their children settling into their private reading lives with a new sense of independence and empowerment. wonder. I love this one from Amazon because I feel like a cute animal is accompanying them on their reading adventure.
Get the Flexilight Pals Flashlight Clip on Amazon for $ 9.99
3. A Kindle Just For Kids
I’m a fan of traditional hand-held books, but if you’re traveling anywhere this summer, nothing beats the slim, light, travel-friendly Kindle Kids Edition that comes with a cover. The Kindle Screen is easy on the eyes and won’t stimulate your kids like regular screens.
It’ll never have that new book smell, or the satisfying crack in the book’s spine, but if you’re on the go, or your kid wants books right away, the Kindle Kids Edition is the way to go.
Get the Kindle Kids Edition on Amazon for $ 109.99
4. A journal to keep track of what they read
This adorable and engaging journal, filled with questions and cool illustrations, is a way for kids to keep track of what they have read. With space to make connections, explain how the book made them feel, and jot down new words, it can deepen the practice of reading.
Once an emotional connection is made, reading changes from “school task” to “important to me”. A reading journal is a great – and somewhat devious – way to meaningfully link reading and writing for your child, something teachers will ask them to do while in college.
Get the My own journal of books on Amazon for $ 7.99
5. An Audible subscription (yes, audiobooks count!)
There is something so calming and exhilarating for kids to get lost in an audiobook, especially when you pair it with another activity like drawing. Better yet, a good audiobook can be a tedious task like picking up toys or folding laundry in a fun and even relaxing way. Best of all, children can listen to books that are beyond their actual reading level, allowing them to absorb literature that might otherwise intimidate them. I’ve looked for alternatives, but Audible simply has the most comprehensive collection, which is worth the price of the monthly subscription.
Sign up for Audible
6. A cozy reading corner
It only takes a few well-chosen accessories to transform an otherwise empty nook into a reading nook. Maybe you’ll choose a comfy chair by a window that gets good light, or an awning draped over an ottoman in their bedroom, or even that adorable “sky cocoon” from Fat Brain Toys, which can be hung from a tree. A welcoming and comfortable place invites a young reader to settle down and escape in a good book.
Get the Sky Nook at Fat Brain Toys for $ 39.95
7. Subscription to the Literati Kids Book Club
We are in the golden age of children’s literature. When I was young, it seemed like we only had a handful of authors and tiles to choose from (Upper Sweet Valley, anybody?). Corn Harry potter changed all that and brought us into a new era. There are so many great books published these days, it can be overwhelming.
Literati Book Club does the hard work of selecting the best books for you. After describing your reader, the experts select the best reads for you each month. The best part is you only keep what you like.
Subscribe to Literati for $ 9.95 per month
8. A book of writing instructions
Any teacher or author will tell you that reading and writing go hand in hand. For some children, the entry point to reading is actually writing. Child writers know they have something to say and have a natural tendency to tell stories. This fun book of writing prompts goes far beyond the typical classroom journal by stimulating the imagination and exposing children to various genres. The more they practice writing, the more they want to see how the pros (i.e. writers) do it.
To have 642 things to write about: Young Writer’s Edition on Amazon for $ 13.87
9. A library card
It might not be a product you can buy, but it is the most valuable item on this list. As old-fashioned as it sounds, library cards, both digital and plastic, can usher in a world of reading possibilities. Now that libraries are reopening, it is the perfect time to rediscover these wonderful institutions, which are home to traveling and talking book experts.
First, of course, there are the books to extract. Then there are the various programs offered by the libraries, from summer reading competitions to creative writing courses to maker-spaces. And don’t forget that there is a huge range of digital resources, from magazines to graphic novels to audiobooks, which are completely free.
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Prices were correct at the time of this article’s publication, but may change over time.