I'm trying a new experiment with my kids this summer. In an effort to curtail screen time — and the fights that go along with it — I've decided that each day, my girls and I will start and end the day curled up with a good book.


My eldest daughter is an awesome reader. On her way out of third grade, she was reading at the eighth-grade level. It's not uncommon to find her with her nose in a book on car rides or asleep in the pages at the end of the day. But more often than not, she likes to start the day by lounging in front of the television or watching videos on YouTube rather than reading a book. Once she starts reading, it's hard to get her to stop, but she often only sees reading as a last resort — something that she turns to in desperation in the car or when all other options are gone at the end of the day. That's exactly why I want her day to start with a good book that she can return to throughout the day when she needs a break from playing outdoors or needs to kill 15 minutes before dinnertime.  


My youngest also needs a bit more inspiration in the reading department. She just finished kindergarten and is well on her way to becoming an accomplished reader. But she still associates reading with bedtime. And even though I know she can now read almost all of the books on her shelf by herself, she lacks the motivation to do it — even in the context of reading it to someone else — without prompting.


Hence the experiment. What do I hope to accomplish? For starters, I want my girls to read more. By doubling their opportunities to read, that should be a given. But I would also like to see reading become their go-to activity for the summer rather than watching TV or playing games on the computer. I want my girls to be good readers, but more than that, I want them to love reading. My theory is that by bookending their day with reading, it will seep into their day-to-day activities.


Will this summer experiment make that happen?  


Stay tuned to find out.


How do you help your kids learn to love reading?

Summer survival tip #1: Got books?
MNN's family blogger embarks on a summer-long experiment to help her kids learn to love reading.