Many of us start the summer with good intentions to foster and develop reading all summer. Then, suddenly, it’s July. It’s hot, humid, hectic. Perhaps you need a reminder of why this is important or what the value is in encouraging summer reading.

So what does all this fuss over summer reading really  mean? It is clearly and definitively in our kids’ best interest – both for starting September on solid footing and to give them the tools and habits for life-long learning, to read over the summer. Today. Every day. All summer. All year.

Summer reading keeps kids in the habit of reading. It keeps their vocabulary and decoding skills active. It helps them pursue interests or perhaps harvest new ones. It lets them tune out the rest of the world, digital and physical, and be transported to a different time and place.  It allows them to just be and to wrestle with the quiet in their own head and be with their own thoughts.

Sometimes it’s a tough sell when there’s quick access to stuff that’s immediately satisfying and stimulating – whether that stuff appears on the screen or draws them into other activities. Often kids just need a gentle nudge to consider a wider range of options or the familiarity of a routine that includes reading. Other times, it’s just a “have to” that could become a “want to.”
But it doesn’t have to be like brushing teeth or taking vitamins or walking the dog.  There are gazillions of books and other materials to read that help keep summer reading easy and fun.  Children, particularly boys and those for whom reading doesn’t come easily, will be more engaged in reading when it’s meaningful, relevant and provides some sense of adventure or fantasy.

11 Ways to Slip Reading into Summer:

  1. Make it a priority.  A priority to have fun with reading. Remember, reading doesn’t always mean holding a book.  Magazines, e-books, audio books, direction, games like Bananagrams, Scrabble, Boggle.
  2. Build it into your day. Before or after a meal. during afternoon (nap or quiet time). On the way to the pool, day care, sports. Schedule a weekly library trip. Whatever works in your home, for your kids, for yourself.
  3. Add some drama – act out stories, dress up, make a stage, read into a microphone, video tape read aloud (share with far-away relatives), write stories and act them out.
  4. Make a list  – of topics, genres, authors your kid like; work together to find those titles at the library or book store (bonus: search on-line and that’s reading, too!)
  5. Ask  – friends what they are reading and share  – titles or the actual books.
  6. Keep books handy – beach bags, sports bags, bathroom, porch, tree house, car, backpacks, kitchen table.
  7. Pass –  on the traveling DVD player and opt for books on cd (or down load the mp3 files).
  8. Keep track – make a paper chain for each book read. Or log in a journal, on a popsicle stick or other ways to see the cumulative effect.
  9. Trade off  – 30 minutes of video games/screens for 30 minutes of tv. (This raises the bar in my house some days… but worth the effort!)
  10. Take it out – hang hammock, set up a chair under a tree and designate that as the reading spot.
  11. Make it light – take a flashlight and read under the stars or listen to a story outdoors.

These are just a handful. Bet you have more good ideas, so why not post a comment here or on Facebook to share ways your family is reading this summer?  And if you’re not signed up to get these posts right to your in-box, what’s holding you back?

Happy reading!


Lisa Dewey Wells

2 thoughts on “11 Ways to Read this Summer

  1. Thanks for some great new ideas to inspire my son, Lisa! What we do is trade my reading aloud to him with him either reading reading aloud back to me (always good to practice), or he reads to himself. I love the paper-chain idea, except he wont get through enough books to make it worth while! BUT I could do that with every chapter he reads and then maybe reward him when we reach a predetermined amount 🙂

  2. As a 2nd grade teacher I cannot reiterate enough the importance of keeping these reading skills honed over the summer. It has a significant impact on whether a young reader, still working on developing skills, regresses, maintains, or excels in the coming school year. It also helps to ask your child to share what they think will happen next in the story? If they could write the ending what would it be? Then have them compare that prediction to what the author does with the story. Comprehension is the area that children need to have the greatest support in developing and is often neglected once the initial decoding skills are achieved.

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