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22MRT002 Encouraging Summer Reading Graphic Secondary V2

Books on the Break: Encouraging Summer Reading

According to a 2020 study reported by Pew Research, 42% of 9-year-old students and only 17% of 13-year-old students report reading for fun every day. 

Despite reading rates among youth steadily declining, most educators continue to advocate for reading outside the classroom. Reading is the foundation of many academic fields, and studies have shown that students who frequently read for fun do better on the reading sections of standardized tests

But how do you foster a love of reading when your student appears disinterested? This can be especially challenging during the summer, when it may feel like all your child wants to do is hang out with friends, go swimming, and play video games. The truth is, though, that summer can be a great time to build a regular reading habit, as your child probably has more free time than they do during the school year. 

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.

Sign Up for a Summer Reading Program

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

Explore Different Genres and Formats

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

Get Social

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.

Challenge Your Teen to a Reading Competition 

At the beginning of summer, you and your teen can create your own TBR (To Be Read) lists. Consider using themes like diversity, female protagonists, villains you love to hate, classic literature, banned books, social issues, etc. Then, set a deadline for the end of summer and see who can read more books off their list. 

Pro-Tip: Ask the human search engines (aka librarians) who would be happy to make recommendations.

Check Out Local Events

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!

Summer Reading Hacks for All Ages

  • Set a reading goal. This could be books per month, pages per day, minutes per day, etc.
  • Always be reading. Keep a book with you at all times, either physically or on a device.
  • Try reading with your ears. Audiobooks are nice companions for hikes, road trips, or even that Target run!
  • Limit social media time…
  • …but do follow book blogs and book influencers! Try websites like Goodreads, Literary Hub, and Book Riot for all things bookish.
  • Buddy up with a like-minded book lover. This can be helpful for meeting your goals, discussing your favorite books, and exchanging titles.
  • Keep a long, but distinguished, TBR (To Be Read) list. That way you always have something to read!

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!

Looking for more ideas on how to make the most of your student’s summer vacation? Enjoy this article on creating even more family fun on a summer break!

Amy Licht
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