As part of the Spanish summer reading program, we are sharing a new progress sheet, or reading log. Many kids enjoy making a visible record of the books they have read. So, a log is one way of recognizing achievement and motivating kids to read. Below you will find more suggestions for motivating kids to read in Spanish.
The new reading program progress sheet is designed so kids can write the titles they read on the backs of the books if they would like to. If not, they can simply color a book on the sheet when they finish one. In addition, there is space for kids to record favorite books and topics.
You can find the first reading program progress sheet on the Summer Reading Resources page.
Tips for Motivating Kids to Read
- Help kids choose books that are below their language and reading level. Because reading is fun when it is not hard work, part of motivating kids to read is making easy. They will still learn a lot!
- Choice is motivating, so it is important to let kids help choose books.
- Tapping into interests is another way of motivating kids to read. If your child has a favorite sport, animal or other interest, look for books in Spanish related to that topic.
- Children benefit from reading many different kinds of text. Therefore, reading recipes, magazines, comics, quotes, jokes, songs, and signs improves their language skills. All reading in Spanish will make them stronger, more confident readers. That confidence is key to motivating kids to read.
- Create time and space to read. First, be sure to build time to read into your child’s daily routine. Then, consider making a reading corner or reading nook. If you are looking for inspiration, there are Pinterest boards of reading spaces like this one.
- Keep Spanish books, vocabulary cards and games within easy reach. For example, a basket of books or vocabulary cards on the kitchen table, or a stack of picture books in the bathroom make it easier for kids to choose to read.
- Draw on relationships. Reading together is one of the best ways to make reading fun for kids. Given that, if you have Spanish-speaking family nearby, or will see them this summer, make a point of having them read with your kids. Even if your family is at a distance, they can share a story with your child through online video.
- Keep in mind that it is fine to simplify a story when you are reading aloud. Since it is essential for children to understand a book in order to enjoy it, leaving out difficult descriptive words makes sense.
- Try motivating kids to read by pairing the topics of books with a fun recipe, craft or song. Extending learning beyond a book is important for language development.
- Keep kids involved as you read aloud. Talk about the story, ask questions and share your ideas and opinions.
- Model reading in Spanish. Children learn by example. If you enjoy reading and make time for it, your child will be more motivated to read, too.
Motivating Kids to Read With Rewards
Finally, there is the question of rewards as motivation. At Spanish Playground, we believe reading is its own reward. That said, there is evidence that rewarding children to read in the short term can have long term benefits. For an interesting look at this issue, read these articles by a Chicago Tribune columnist who paid her kids to read during the summer and wrote about the wide range of reactions from her readers.
Only you know if a reward for reading is right for your child. For our part, we encourage you to celebrate reading in Spanish as a family. A picnic in the park, a movie, a family bike ride – you know what your child likes. Motivating kids to read in Spanish can be a fun, family experience. Decide how you want to celebrate summer reading!