Without a doubt, I read way more in the summer months. I love nothing more than sitting on my deck, feet propped up, with an icy drink beside me and a good book in my hands. Road trips are also the perfect opportunity to get lost in a story, provided the kids don’t start arguing or asking for eleventy thousand things.
Unfortunately, those same kids don’t seem to read as much in the summer months as the do through the school year. I suppose I can’t blame them – summer is time for being carefree, having loads of fun, and not focusing on the ten-months of learning they do through the school year. The flip side to this is that some kids can fall victim to the summer slide.
Makes sense, right? As a parent, it’s up to me to ensure my kids are ready to learn when school starts in September, and not at the same level they were at the beginning of May – yes, sliding back a month or two from where they ended at the end of the year. Because I read, I know that helps create a good influence for my kids – they know that reading is a hobby and something enjoyable. Of course, it’s totally enjoyable to jump on the trampoline, play on their iPads and go to the beach. So, the task for me as a parent is to balance everything through the summer.
This summer, we’ve been on a journey with a new Kindle Paperwhite and a downloadable application called Kindle FreeTime, which truly has become my sidekick in ensuring the kids read this summer. How? It keeps track for me!
Before your child can use Kindle FreeTime on your Kindle, you need to create a Parental Controls password and create a profile for your child. Easy peasy! After I set up each profile, I can then give them Access to Achievements as well as set up our Daily Reading Goal.
By default the Daily Reading Goal is set to 30 minutes, but you can change that based on your child and their age and reading ability. The Kindle FreeTime application doesn’t give your child access to the Kindle Store so only you can add books to their collection – which can be fun too when they see what’s new.
To start our summer, I gave my daughter one of my favorite childhood books. She’s 9 years old and I figured it was time to read all the joy and wonder that “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret” by Judy Bloom has to offer. Within her first day reading it she was smirking about the story, and the best part? We talked about it later. For those of you who loved this book as much as I did when you were a pre-teen, you know why that was a special moment.
Next up, Blubber! I didn’t realize how many Judy Bloom books I had read and loved as a kid until I saw them listed in the Kindle Store! As you can see from the photo above, the Kindle Paperwhite is ahhhh-mazing for outdoor reading in the summer. Unlike e-Readers of the past, the Kindle Paperwhite ($119.99 plus free shipping at Amazon.ca!) screen doesn’t dim when outside and doesn’t have any annoying reflection when you’re reading either. It’s really (almost!) like reading a paper-white book. Oh. Hey wait. Clever, those product designers and marketers, aren’t they?
We intend to continue using our Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle FreeTime long after the summer is over. While it’s true that once school starts our kids are reading more in class and focusing on their education, I want my kids to love reading as a hobby like I do – to yearn for the time and space to do so. They’ll just have to come find me with the Kindle first. I’ll be on the deck until October.