Summer Reading…Take It Outside!
The countdown to summer is on at our house. Just two weeks of school left until summer vacation! And I’ll be honest – we. can’t. wait! It’s hard to prioritize homework when it’s so beautiful outside…the sun is setting later and frankly we are just tired of doing homework after 9 months. We definitely have spring fever…but we are trying our best to finish strong. Only 10 more days of school….but who’s counting?!?! We ARE!!!!
But even when school is out, there is one bit of “homework” that we still do over the summer….reading. Even if our girls’ school didn’t have a summer reading requirement, we’d still be reading…as I know that it will help them retain and even enhance the gains they made in reading over the school year. If your child’s school doesn’t require summer reading, I’d still encourage you to have some type of summer reading plan at your home over the summer…it will no doubt benefit them! If you need help, check out what programs your local public library offers.
Also, Barnes and Noble has a summer reading program where if you read 8 books and log them, they will reward you with a free book. Whatever it takes to motivate them, I’d encourage you to do it. Maybe it’s setting a goal for a certain number of books to read and there is a fun reward when they reach that goal…like going out for ice cream every time they finish reading a chapter book. Whatever works for your family. So many studies show how important it is to keep your kids’ minds engaged over the summer…and there’s really no easier way to compete against the “summer slide” than getting them to read! But what does this have to do with redeeming your ground…well, just keep reading…
Thankfully getting our girls to read is not a chore because they LOVE to read (I just wish I could say the same thing for My Resident Gardener!). However, I don’t want them spending hours cooped up reading inside when it’s a beautiful summer day outside…no surprise since we preach getting outside here at RYGblog. So, I’ve encouraged my girls to find special spots in our yard where they can go and read. Brown Brown sometimes likes to hideaway in a clump of trees in our front yard where the exposed roots and their unique placement creates a little seat right up against one of the large oaks and the azaleas create a hidden little nook…a little hideaway place to read. The Littlest One often reads on one of our two porch swings just-a-swinging and a-reading! Both girls love to read in the hammock we have hung in a nice shady spot under the treehouse where they can fully recline and feel a cool breeze as they calmly sway back and forth. If the weather isn’t 100% conducive for reading outside, we have a reading loft inside their treehouse that’s a perfect spot that’s almost outside. My personal favorite spot is on our hanging day bed…where I can not only read comfortably, but even sneak in a little nap…if I’m being completely honest.
So reading doesn’t have to be confined to rainy days or to bedtime…take your reading outside…even if for just 20 minutes. Not only will your kids benefit from expanding their minds through reading, but they’ll be doing it in a way that will help them connect with nature and get a bit of fresh air…filling their minds, souls, and lungs! And when they are done reading outside, they’re much more likely to engage in healthy outdoor, physical activity than if they are reading inside…where they would more likely pick up some device or roll onto the couch to watch TV. So this summer…for so many reasons, I hope you’ll encourage your kids to find a special reading nook of their own in your yard.
But you may say…there are no reading nooks in our yard. If so, then create one! Maybe it’s just buying an outdoor pillow to make an uncomfortable bench or chair more welcoming and comfortable. Maybe it’s as simple as having a designated “reading blanket” that’s conveniently located near the back door or on the back porch…making it easier to take outside to spread under a shade tree to lay down on and read. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s time to invest in a hammock or a porch swing! Whatever it is that you have to do, I’m certain you’ll be glad that you did.
What are your favorite places to read outside? I’d love to know…and then share with everyone else.
Over the next several weeks I’ll be doing a few more posts on the importance of reading as we continue to redeem our ground at home…so please check back in!
Happy reading this summer in your favorite outdoor reading space!
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