I don’t know about your children, but mine did NOT like to sit and read. My children were more interested in sports, i.e. swimming, beach, pool, etc. or watching TV. I love to read and wanted to instill them a lifelong love of reading and learning. My eldest, a girl, will read for entertainment now and she is currently 29. (Yep, the same age as her mom!) My middle son just does not read and my youngest, a boy also, will read if it is about golf or surfing. I used to read to them, with them and took them to the library periodically to try to find something they might be interested in. What do you do to get your children to read?
Students of all ages can take advantage of the long summer break to catch up on fun reading that they have missed out on during the school year due to homework and extracurricular activities. Some schools have required summer reading. If your school does not impose such a requirement, there are many resources that can spark your child’s interest in reading and vocabulary.
* Public libraries: For younger children, many libraries offer story hours and summer reading programs, usually built around a theme, that offer incentives and rewards for youngsters to read. The children’s librarian or the reference librarian can offer suggestions about books that are age-appropriate and match your student’s interests. Visit the library with your child frequently so he can browse the bookshelves and look at the latest magazines.
* Recommended reading lists: The American Library Association (ALA) and Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) are both well-known organizations that provide through their respective websites a wealth of specialized reading lists for all age groups and areas of interest. Check out the following links:
* Freerice.com: This philanthropic and educational website is a fun way for children, teens and adults to test and build their vocabulary knowledge. The website is designed to automatically adjust to the user’s level of vocabulary. It begins by asking you the definition of a word, giving you four answers from which to choose. Based on how you answer a series of such questions, the program will adjust the level of difficulty upward or downward. When you correctly get three words in a row, the level of difficulty automatically increases. Another interesting feature is that when you define a word incorrectly, you will be asked that same word a few turns later in order to “re-test” you. You can also click on an icon to the right of a word to hear how it is pronounced. FreeRice describes itself as a website that is designed to end world hunger. For every correct answer a player gets, 20 grains of rice are donated to the United Nations World Food Program (WPF). Sponsors make all payments to the UN World Food Program directly. Beware: This is an addicting site!
* The SAT Game for Dummies: From the well-known “For Dummies” series, this trivia-style board game is touted as a fun and interactive way to prepare for the SAT. The game is designed to be played with multiple players who all have incentives to answer each other’s questions so everyone gets involved on every turn. Competition between players mimics the competitive environment of test day and questions are timed.
* SAT Vocabulary Novels: These free on-line novels, produced by the folks at SparkNotes, incorporate 1,000 of the most frequently tested vocabulary words and provide definitions. An interesting-dare we say “novel” -alternative to boring old flashcards!