When school is dismissed on May 26th, families look forward to a summer of swimming, camping, baseball, and various summer activities. Many families still include reading as an important and pleasant summer activity. We as educators know the importance of summer reading and here are some specifics to encourage the enjoyment of reading during your child’s summer vacation. 1. Read to your children (no matter their age). Reading individual books or parts of a chapter of a book can increase a child’s interest in reading and improve his or her listening skills and general vocabulary. 2. Be a reader yourself. As a parent you are one of the most significant role models for your children. You can show them that reading is a source of pleasure and a way to get information. Showing them that you are a reader is teaching and reinforcing a lifelong skill. 3. Go to the library. During the school year students might depend entirely on their school library media center for their selection of good books. Take time during the summer to introduce your child to a bigger selection of reading material at your public library. Having their own library card can also encourage a child to read more. 4. Assist your child in finding or selecting books they will enjoy. Summer reading is a great time to find books that relate to your child’s interests and reading ability. This can be an opportunity to discuss current interests and help your child become a choosy reader. 5. Make reading a relaxed activity. Reading should be an enjoyable activity for your child and yourself. Setting a relaxed atmosphere and not forcing them to read for long periods of time will help keep a child’s reading skills sharp. Several shorter sessions instead of a few longer ones can encourage children to become avid readers. 6. Participate in a summer reading program. Many community libraries sponsor summer reading programs through the public library or the schools in your area. Bookstores are also a source of summer reading programs and activities. They sometimes provide incentives, have interesting themes or sharing sessions, and can even provide extra reading help. Reading is a skill just like the backstroke, dribbling a basketball, pitching a ball, and it requires practice. Summer reading can not only be enjoyable but can help students of all ability levels keep their skills sharp during vacation and have them better prepared for the start of the new school year.