Summer reading habits don't need to stop when school starts

With summer in the rearview mirror, millions of Canadian children have now said goodbye to the downtime of vacation and have returned to the routine of school and activities.

For many parents, the summer was a time to help instill a love of books and reading, whether it's on the dock at the cottage, or in a library program like TD Summer Reading Club

But when kids go back to school, reading for fun is one activity that can fall by the wayside as kids return to their regularly scheduled programming of homework, swimming lessons and other extracurriculars.

"There are so many things competing for kids’ attention these days including TV, video games and extracurricular activities," said Jessica Roy, Manager of the TD Summer Reading Club at the Toronto Public Library.

"While these activities can involve reading it’s not always enough to keep reading skills up. Making a commitment to read together as a family every day can be challenging but the rewards are worth the effort."

That's why making a commitment to read together as a family every day, even though it could be tough to squeeze in, can be very rewarding for parents and children.

"Summer reading clubs also make reading fun which helps kids grow into inspired readers and lifelong learners," Roy said. "It is critical for kids to keep up their skills by reading over the holidays so they can return to school in September at the same level they were at when school let out.

Here are some fun and easy ways to help keep your child reading as we make the transition to Fall:

Bring literacy into your everyday activities

Driving to swimming lessons or hockey practice? Sing silly songs in the car and make up the lyrics as you go to develop your child’s vocabulary and ability to think on-the-spot. When reading together, make it even more enjoyable by challenging each other to use a funny voice. Before turning over a new page, try to guess what the next sentence will be. These activities take no extra supplies and can be done almost anywhere.

According to Roy, introducing bedtime stories into your daily routine is another great way to raise a reader. It can be a special bonding time for parents and kids as well as a great way to work reading into your daily routine.

Host a book swap

Share your resources and knowledge by getting together with friends and family members to share books and magazines through a book swap. This is a great way to try new genres, spend time with family and gain to access free reading materials.

Encourage children to develop a growth mindset

Let your child pick from a selection of books with characters that stick to projects and go beyond expectations – these characters can help kids gain confidence and persevere. This attitude could make the difference between a child saying, 'I’m not good at math' versus 'I just need more practice.' Books that are moralizing can be off putting for some kids, especially reluctant readers.

Promote the joy of reading through digital apps

While setting limits on screen time is important, apps can be useful tools to support your child’s learning because they’re fun and can be customized to individual needs. Focus on apps that can bring the family together while building storytelling, spelling, reading, writing and other literacy skills through fun games and creative play.

"Online tools are also a great way to connect," says Roy. "Participants in the TD Summer Reading Club can come together online with kids in other parts of the country, share their jokes and stories, and even recommend books to each other."

A child sitting on the floor with a shirt that says "I love reading"

About the TD Summer Reading Club: Offered free online and at more than 2,000 public libraries across Canada, the TD Summer Reading Club is Canada’s biggest, bilingual summer reading club for kids of all ages, interests and abilities to keep kids reading and inspired all summer long. Nearly 700,000 children participate each year.

About The Ready Commitment: TD's new corporate citizenship strategy builds on the bank's purpose to enrich the lives of its customers, colleagues and communities, by helping to open doors for a more inclusive tomorrow. The TD Summer Reading Club is part of TD's long-standing commitment to help increase access to reading resources and early learning opportunities in local communities to help all kids succeed.