7 Tips to Keep Kids Reading During Social Distancing

By Lori Singer

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I often tell my young students that we can go anywhere in a book! Initially, they look at me with great curiosity and shocking disbelief.

“Anywhere, Ms. Lori?”

“Yes, anywhere! Together we’ll take a trip around the world and explore the possibilities of where books can take you.”

I then ask each individual student to share where they might want to go or what they might want to be or are curious about; explaining how anything is possible with reading a book.

The room fills with expanding light and energy as each child grasps the awe of their own individual Eureka moments. It’s like I have given them the map to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Next, each student uses their unique voices to take us on a journey. Excitement and infinite ideas pop into their minds as the reading room fills with the students sense of wonder and possibility. The students feel a new sense of the power of books.

I continue to discuss the magic of books and how with books you can travel anywhere or be anything in a book. We discuss how with books you can learn anything, and how a book can be the perfect friend. If you are curious, there is a book to meet your wonder.

Yes, we can go anywhere!

The idea that reading can take you away to far away places is so important right now during COVID-19 pandemic, especially when kids have been at home for months and miss the attention of their teachers. They've been unable to go to a playground, see their friends, visit the beach, go to a library, and other far away places.

As a parent, you might worry and also feel a similar loss and loneliness because of social distancing. But not only can reading a book take away those worries, it can also bring infinite possibilities into your home.

For those parents who worry, reading out loud with guidance for 15-20 minutes a day with your child can really help. It helps them from falling behind and keeps their minds active and learning. It also helps them keep pace with their reading retention during the summer.

So you might ask what can I do as a parent or guardian to help my child?

The good news is that summer reading does not have to be canceled.

In fact, with a little imagination and little resources your family can experience the joys of where reading can take you. If you have an interest. there’s a book for that. This is where magic can happen with the help of reading books.

Have no fear… “Ms. Lori” has her wand and cape along with her alligator bag full of suggestions.

According to the U.S. Department of Education Here are 7 tips to support parents and keep students reading during this time of social distancing:

1. Create a fun reading space

Set up a tent in the yard under a shady tree or create an indoor reading fort. Add comfy pillows, bean bags and blankets along with a basket of books to make a fun, relaxing spot for reading. The possibilities are as endless as the imagination.

2. Make a reading routine

Set aside a specific time each day to dedicate to reading. It doesn’t need to be long. By making it a priority, you relay the message that reading is important. Make time to read together in addition to creating time for children to read on their own. A nighttime reading routine can help children associate reading with relaxing. Children are easily filled up and will quickly adapt to new routines if we provide the time.

3. Be a role model

Get caught reading! Children are known to model the actions of adults they love. When they see you enjoying a good book, they will follow your lead. Also, be a role model by reading aloud to your child no matter their age.

4. Ensure reading materials are readily available

Make books easily accessible in the most used rooms of your home and carry them with you everywhere. Keep selections in your car. It’s also helpful to carry a bag of books for doctor visits, shopping trips, and long waits.

5. Make reading an adventure

Visit online libraries, bookstores, and take walks in your neighborhood and take it as an opportunity to explore things to research or with emergent readers read signs.