Summer is quickly approaching, and while so many of us are looking forward to a much-needed break, we need to remember to set up our students for success before sending them off on break. To do that, we need to ensure they continue reading while away from the classroom.
Here are just a few reasons why students should continue to read over the summer:
1. Preventing summer learning loss:
Research shows that students can lose up to two months of reading skills over summer break. As educators, we want to ensure they maintain their reading levels and growth throughout the summer so that they’ll have a strong start when they return for the new school year in the fall. Reading over the summer can help prevent this loss and maintain reading proficiency.
2. Enhances students’ imagination:
When reading books, students immerse themselves in different worlds and come across many different types of characters, causing them to imagine what these worlds and people look like by picturing the words. It also offers a change in perspective — an opportunity to see the world through someone else’s eyes, learn about topics they’re interested in, explore new ideas, and discover new places.
3. Improves student memory and focus:
Reading daily can improve kids’ focus and memory by stimulating their brains.
4. Increases student vocabulary:
When kids read, they encounter new terminology and thus build a more robust vocabulary.
So what can we do to help set up students for reading success? Keep reading below for 10 strategies for encouraging summer reading.
10 Tips to Keep Students Reading Over the Summer
- Allow students to borrow books from the classroom library.
You can have students shop for books in the classroom library before sending them home for the summer. If you’re concerned about getting the books back, you can create a system to track the books students borrow. If you don’t have access to a classroom library, encourage students to check out books from the school or local library.
- Encourage students to visit their local library.
Consider an end-of-year field trip to the library. During the visit, you can ensure every student can access a library card and books. You can also create a handout with instructions on how to get a library card and send it home with students (Remember to communicate with parents that you’re sending the handout home).
- Encourage your school to have library hours.
Ask school administrators to hold library hours where students can come in and check out books during the summer.
- Encourage students to explore new books.
Help students identify a new book series they’d like based on one they already enjoy reading. Students are more likely to read books that relate to their interests and experiences. For example, if students love Harry Potter (fantasy, adventure), they might also like the Percy Jackson series. Or if students love sports, they can read non-fiction books about athletes or sports history.
- Create a summer reading list.
Make a list of class favorites. You can spend a day during the last week of school researching books students want to read but haven’t gotten the opportunity to read. The list can include a variety of genres, such as fiction, non-fiction, and adventure. Consider recommending books appropriate for your student’s age and reading level. You can make copies of the list, share it with students, and suggest parents help their child find books online, at the library, or at bookstores.
- Encourage students to create book clubs.
Students can find friends who like to read the same books or series. They can then find a time to discuss the books virtually or in person! This gives them an opportunity to hang out with friends while sharing their thoughts and opinions about the book. You can even provide students with a list of general discussion questions.
- Set summer reading goals.
Create reading goals with students. Discuss a reasonable number of books or pages to read over the break. You can meet with students individually and set up a personalized goal based on their reading level.
- Encourage students to find a reading spot at home.
In order to build a love for reading, students need to also have strong reading habits at home. During independent reading time at school, students choose their own reading spots. This helps them focus and really builds their excitement to read a book. To prepare students to do some reading at home, have students write down and share what places they can read at home. Where can they do their best reading when at home? You can share this information with parents so that they can support them in using that spot to read independently at home.
- Have students plan where and when they’ll be reading.
If students go away for their summer break, will they bring a book? If they’re busy at camp, would they have a book with them or read afterward? What time is ideal for that individual reader if they’re at home all day? Teachers can even give out a calendar and have kids use it to plan their reading.
- Encourage students to track their summer reading.
You can provide students with a reading log to hold them accountable for reading. Make it fun! Offer small rewards for students who complete a certain number of books over the summer. This can be as simple as giving them extra recess once they return from break.
You can start these conversations with students before they leave on break and share a reading summer plan sheet with books students plan to read, where they read best, and when they will make time for reading. We hope you found these simple tips helpful as you prepare your kids for a successful summer of reading!
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