Riley Heruska
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If you're like most parents in today's society, you're probably envisioning a summer filled with iPads, video games, television, and the occasional jaunt outside into the Texas heat. Most children aren't going to stay inside and read a book when they can be stimulated by technology or hanging out with friends. Although these experiences can be rewarding, science and studies have made it clear that curling up with a good old hardback book is a fantastic way to brighten your child's mind and keep them engaged over the summer break. 

No matter how old your child may be, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, "reading exerts a positive effect on the developing brain." Infants, toddlers, kids, and preteens can all benefit substantially from building their vocabulary and learning to interpret literature, both for pleasure and for academic purposes.

In general, studies have found that kids who read have: 

  • More complex, well-developed ideas about the world around them. 
  • Better communication skills. 
  • Higher levels of empathy and an ability to understand how others think.
  • Strong concentration skills. 
  • Excellent academic achievements. 

Feel like you're pulling teeth when you try to get your child to sit with a book for more than a few minutes? Here are a few tips and tricks for getting your reluctant reader to engage with books. 

Let them pick their own books. The more you control what your children read, the more they're going to feel like it's a part of their homework rather than an enjoyable activity. Guide them toward age-appropriate books, then let them have free reign. They'll find things that interest them and that they want to learn more about. 

Take them to bookstores and libraries frequently. Spending time with books is a great way to encourage reading. Children will get a kick out of meandering down the aisles and discovering titles they've never heard of. Encourage them to pick out books that attract their attention and give them a shot. 

Lead by example. If you never sit down with a novel, then why would you expect your children to? Try to make a habit of reading with your child for a half hour or so each day. Cultivating a book-loving culture at home is one of the most important parts of encouraging your children to read, and that starts with the example you set. 

How do you get your children to spend time with literature? Leave other pieces for fellow parents in the comments below. 

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