Summer reading might be viewed as a chore by many students, but it doesn’t have to be. With many schools requiring summer reading and many students needing the extra reading time, summer reading has become a critical part of every school year. Why? Students who don’t read during the summer can lose over half of the reading gains they made in the school year. Added to this, students who read twenty minutes a day gain thousands of more words to their vocabulary. To keep up in school – and experience the fun of reading – summer reading programs are a great way to get kids engaged in books. The good news is that students don’t need to read “just the classics” to keep up their reading skills and interests during the summer months. Here are three ways you can set summer reading goals and keep summer reading fun for your kids.
1. Choose your own books
Whenever possible, children should have a choice of their reading options. While many schools provide a list of potential selections, students often have the freedom to choose their own books from that list. Take your kids to the school, library, or book store to browse the potential selections, look at the cover, read the back, and maybe even try out a few pages. Students should be encourage to make their own choices about what reading they might enjoy during the summer months. Even for classes that have specific reading lists, this preview opportunity can get kids excited about reading those “required” books.
2. Book talk your reading
Real-world readers don’t just fill out reading journals and call it a day. We talk about the books we love and the reasons we love them. Engage your kids and students in conversations about reading, what they are reading about, and what they are enjoying – or not – about the story. These conversations can be meaningful relationship builders with teachers and parents. This experience also gets students involved in reading in an authentic manner that lets them share their enthusiasm and develop a real love of reading outside of book reports.
3. Connect reading to the real world
While you may not be able to hop a plane to a location mentioned in a book, using the internet for additional research and connections can really make a book come alive. Is the book set in rural New Hampshire while you live in Iowa? No problem. Use map services and websites to show kids what the setting would look like. Let students explore concepts connected to what they are reading so that reading becomes more exciting and more meaningful. Of course, you might be lucky enough to live nearby to something or some place mentioned in a book or story. If so, consider a family field trip to explore and learn.
Do you have additional tips for keeping summer reading fun? Please share them with us!