Books on the Break: Encouraging Summer Reading
According to a 2020 Pew Research study, 42% of 9-year-old students and only 17% of 13-year-old students reported reading for fun every day. While this isn’t an exceptionally positive statistic, it is encouraging to know that students who do report reading for fun do better on the reading sections of standardized tests.
Most research you will see, and experts you will hear from, advocate for reading outside the classroom. It’s the foundation of most academics. But how do you foster a love of summer reading for fun (especially during the summer) when your student appears disinterested? Check out some of these tips and tricks to make a reader out of your student this summer.
Summer Reading Tips: Grades K–4
Pencil Them In
Try scheduling a consistent time for summer reading. Whether that be bedtime, after dinner, or in the morning before your summertime activities start. Creating consistency is key for developing good reading habits.
Read It Loud and Proud
Foster a love of reading by encouraging your student to read aloud to you. Make it fun by suggesting they create voices for the characters while they learn about pronunciation, comprehension and increase their speed.
Pro-Tip: Keep reading to your children as long as possible. And by choosing more challenging material it will help increase your student’s vocabulary.
Make Books Your “Happy” Place
Turn reading into an event by visiting the library or bookstore to check out what is new.
Pro-Tip: Make it a regular occurrence (ie: one Saturday afternoon a month or more often during the summer) to create a tradition.
More Than Just Books
Speaking of libraries, most libraries host reading programs, challenges, and story times. Take advantage of the free resources that your local library has to offer. Check with your local bookstore as well to see what events they are hosting.
Pro-tip: Check out this cool poster to create a summer reading challenge that includes reading at breakfast, reading a book with chapters, and reading in a blanket fort!
Make It Mobile
Encourage reading over screen time by keeping a book in the car at all times, the good news is that physical books don’t need to be recharged!
Pro-Tip: They can bring it with them to make whatever not-so-fun-errand you are running a little less painful.
Summer Reading Tips: Grades 5–8
Let your student choose their own reading material. Encourage them to try a variety of genres and formats (e-books, audiobooks, graphic novels). They aren’t digging a particular book, genre, or format? Let them set it aside and try something else. Reading is supposed to be fun, not a chore!
Keep Pace with Them
Have at least a passing knowledge of what they are reading and engage them in conversation about it.
Pro-tip: Read the same book together and create an informal book club.
Make a Book Date
Libraries and local bookstores have activities, events, and programs for all age groups.
Pro-Tip: Be a literary hero by getting tickets to a book signing by your student’s favorite author!
Create a “Book Nook”
Designate a spot in your home for reading. All it takes is a comfy chair, and a good reading lamp in a spot tucked away from the hustle and bustle of other family activities.
Be a Reading Role Model
If your student sees you taking the time to enjoy a book, magazine, or even a news article they are more likely to engage with their own material.
Pro-Tip: Being a good role model means more time for you to get lost in a story of your own.
Summer Reading Tips: Grades 9–12
Your teenager is going to be on social media regardless, so why not make it literary? Encourage them to download the Goodreads app to check out book reviews, and sign up for their reading challenge. Have explore social media. Believe it or not there are plenty of BookTokers BookTubers and Bookstagrammers (readers, librarians, bookstore owners, editors, publishers, etc) who review books, and share their love of reading, while making it oh-so-aesthetic.
Create a TBR (To Be Read) list. Use themes like diversity, female protagonists, villains you love to hate, classic literature, banned books, social issues, etc. Keep the competition going by setting a deadline for the end of summer.
Pro-Tip: Ask the human search engines (aka librarians) who would be happy to make recommendations.
While your student may not want to attend with you, you can encourage them to take advantage of library and bookstore offerings. Share details on an author event, reading program, journaling or writing workshop, etc. Suggest they sign up for email or text updates to find out more.
Pro-tip: Surprise your student with event tickets and suggest they make a reader out of a friend.
Make it Multimedia
Does your teen have a penchant for creating videos? Suggest they make a book trailer to promote their latest read. They could even parlay that into a book blog, BookTok, or Bookstagram of their own to keep it fun during the summer break.
Pro-tip: Offer to help!
By creating a summer reading habit, you may just create a lifelong reader as well! There are plenty of opportunities throughout the year to bond with your student over a love of learning. For example, September is the perfect time to celebrate literacy and the love of books!
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