12 Ways to Keep Students Reading This Summer
While summer is a perfect time for children to relax and enjoy travel and other activities, it can also be a time for young minds to become idle. This period of learning loss has been referred to as the "summer slide." But the only summer slide we want Imagine Learning students to experience is a slide at the park or into a pool. So let's talk about summer reading!
Make summer reading goals.
So how do you create a summer of reading? The first step to encouraging a summer full of reading is to get kids to make a summer reading goal. Children can decide how many books, pages, or minutes they want to read. Involve children in this process so they begin with excitement. Most libraries offer a summer reading challenge and often include an incentive for completing the challenge. But if your local library doesn't offer a summer reading program, you can always create your own.
Keep track of summer reading progress.
Create a summer timeline to record books, keep a calendar of minutes read, or make a chart to track completed pages. Last year, my daughter, who is in a French-immersion program, created an Eiffel Tower chart to keep track of her page totals and then colored it in as she read all the way to the top.
Consider offering incentives.
Providing small rewards along the way can help children who struggle sticking to a plan, but a bigger incentive for completing the bigger summer goal can also be effective. And incentives don’t have to cost a lot of money. Children can choose one-on-one time with one a parent or grandparent to get ice cream, go on bike rides, watch movies together, or play golf or tennis.
Set aside time for reading every single day.
For you and your children. Consistent modeling of reading in the home is a strong indicator for children becoming avid readers.
Visit your library’s storytelling hour.
Most libraries offer weekly or monthly story hours. While there, allow children time to explore different types of books. Browsing different sections of the library (bibliography, mystery, geography etc.) can be a great way to expose kids to a wider variety of reading material than they would normally choose. Be sure to check out a big stack of books, audio books, and movies.
Read books out loud as a family.
Reading books together is a shared experience that offers significant connecting power. Children of all ages love to have conversations about books they like (think Harry Potter, The Hobbit and Hunger Games). As a family, you can bond as you read books together sharing quotes or favorite parts or characters on road trips or over the dinner table.
Take books on the road.
Chances are you have plans for travel this summer. Make sure to pack several books for road trips and plane rides. Audio books are a great way to help struggling readers get excited about reading. Road trip reading lends itself to group book trivia, a practice children love. (*Question: Do you know how many balls are used in Harry Potter's Quidditch?)
Read a book, and then watch the movie together.
After you've read a book together, find a film version to watch. You can invite friends and neighbors and even watch it projected in your backyard or on your garage door, sitting in folding chairs. For example, older children might enjoy reading Lightning Thief and Sea of Monsters and then watching the movies. This process provides children a good opportunity to compare and contrast two different accounts.
Keep a reading blog.
As a way to track completed reading, children can do book report blog posts, recounting their favorite part of the book, identifying themes, or comparing character traits. This is especially fun if your children are at an age where they are learning to type on a keyboard.
Host a fun book-themed party and invite the neighborhood.
You could host a Fancy Nancy party, a Harry Potter party, or a Little Mermaid party--depending on the age of your children and what books they enjoy. Parties can be a fun way to bring books to life as you create costumes, games, and food central to the book's theme or characters.
Read in fun places.
Make a reading fort, have a reading picnic, or read while lounging at the beach. Flashlight reading in a backyard tent or on the trampoline is a hit with most kids.
Learn about a specific author.
And devote a week or a month to reading as much as you can from that author. This can be fun for children of all ages. Younger kids can learn about a picture book author such as Dr. Seuss. For older children, learning about an author's life can be a great way to gain insight into how their personal interests and experiences influence their writing. You might even do some research on one of YOUR favorite childhood authors and share your findings with your children as you read an old favorite together
For more great summer reading tips, here is a printable Summer Reading Parent's Guide:
*Answer: Four—a Quaffle, two Bludgers, and a Golden Snitch