Whether you are picking up groceries, waiting at the doctor's office, cooking from a recipe, or hanging out at home, you have an opportunity to read with a child.

Making time to read together for 15 minutes every day makes a difference, especially in the summer when children lose the reading comprehension skills they've gained during the school year. In 15 minutes, your child can build listening and language skills, develop their imagination, and find a joy in reading that will last a lifetime.

United Way of Central Iowa has launched Read Together, a call to action that encourages parents, caregivers, neighbors, and volunteers to spend 15 minutes reading with a child every day. Read Together is part of Read to Succeed, an initiative to mobilize the community around helping children read proficiently by the end of third grade—the No.1 predictor of high school graduation. 

Without access to enriching summer activities, children can lose as many as three months of reading comprehension skills over the summer. 

Here are four ideas to build reading into your summer plans!

1. Read anywhere - When you leave the house, bring a book. Or pack paper and crayons and encourage your child to draw pictures and practice letters. Read the menu at a restaurant or the labels at the store.

2. Talk about what you're reading - As you look at the cover, ask your child what you think the book might be about. While you read, ask who the main characters are and what they might do next. Have your child summarize what you just read. Here's a reading guide to help.

3. Tell stories - Make up your own story or dramatize an old family story. Start the story yourself, and then ask your child to guess what happens next or to make up a new ending. Create silly rhymes or sing songs together as you do chores around the house. 

4. Model reading - Limit the time you and your child spend watching TV, and instead use that time to read a book, newspaper, or magazine. While your children play, turn off your phone and use the time to read.      

Volunteer to read

Power Read Logo.jpgYou can also volunteer to read with a child. Our Power Read program pairs a reading mentor with an elementary school student to read together for 30 minutes every week. A special summer Power Read session began this summer with nearly 200 volunteers! A fall session will kick off in September. 

Visit our Read to Succeed page to find information on the Power Read program, other ways to volunteer, and tips for reading with your child this summer: 

Learn More About READ to SUCCEED

TAGS: Education

Kate Bennett

About The Author: Kate Bennett

Kate Bennett is the Community Impact Officer for Education.