Ah summer break! A time to relax, refresh, and enjoy time away from all things academic. Sure, there are concerns about losing what was learned during a unique year (and a half) of schooling. But the pressure can ease up a bit so that building in enjoyable literacy-based activities will be more meaningful for our youth. Overall, the purpose of emphasizing reading over the summer is to help children retain literacy skills, maintain comprehension, spelling, and vocabulary skills, and boost self-confidence in their abilities. In addition, reading is the foundation for learning in all other subjects so just a few books can make a difference.
The following is a list of summer reading ideas that you and your children will enjoy. From reading challenges to writing book reviews, there should be something for just about everyone, including your tweens/teens. Have fun and READ!
- Local library programs
Most local libraries will have a summer reading program which usually require participants read a certain number of books to earn a reward (bookmarker, stuffed animal, book, etc.). Encourage your readers to choose books from different genres, about different topics, and subjects, and that steadily challenge them. The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has formulated summer reading lists for ages PreK to 8th grade. Print them out and highlight books of interest: 2021 ALSC Summer Reading Lists.
If your children aren’t sure what type of books they really want to dig into, try using the Start with a Book filter here.
Or use the suggestions from diversebooks.org and their Summer Reading Series.
- Plug into an audio book
For a change of pace, an audio book can help nudge a reader’s imagination in different directions. Lit2Go has a great collection of free online stories and poems. Sync has free audiobooks just for teens!
- Book and a movie
Something fun is to read a book that was later made into a movie. There are sure to be interesting conversations afterward, especially if there were major character and/or storyline changes. For a list of children’s stories, novels, and series that became films, check this List of children’s books made into feature films.
- Join a reading challenge
Besides the local library, there are reading challenges through bookstores, education websites, and even Pizza Hut! Like with library summer reading challenges, most challenges require readers to track their reading and meet a certain requirement to earn a prize. Here are a few to choose from:
- Scholastic Summer Reading Program is open until September 3.
- Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program runs between July 1 and August 31, for readers in grades 1-6. Print the reading journals and record books read. After eight books, readers get a free book!
- HPB Summer Reading Camp includes special savings for recording and submitting number of minutes and books read.
- Camp BOOK IT! rewards readers with a free one-topping Personal Pan Pizza® from Pizza Hut. Yum!
- Reading Rockets resources
Readingrockets.org is a terrific resource for educators and families to help children build and strengthen literacy skills. Some resources that are worth the time to explore are:
- Growing Readers monthly tips
- Reading Adventure Packs for Families
- Summer reading booklists
- Literacy in the Sciences
- Read throughout the day
Besides reading books, encourage reading with routine activities such as:
- Reading the grocery list aloud on a shopping rip
- Switching on the closed captioning/subtitles on a show or movie
- Reading the instructions for a new item (assembling a piece of furniture, setting up a tent, using a new kitchen appliance, etc.)
- Write to a friend or relative
Buy some nice stationery (or have children make their own) and write to a favorite teacher, best pal, or beloved family member. Startwithabook.org has great ideas for writing this summer.
- Model a love of reading
Showing your own love of reading –book, comic, newspaper, audiobook, etc. makes the deepest impression on your children at home. Set aside ‘reading time’ each day where you and your child can read independently together. Express your feelings during the reading (“I can’t believe that happened…”, “I knew that was going to happen…”, “Why would she do such a thing?”, “I’d like to visit this place…”) and your child will identify similar elements as they read.
For Boxlight solutions that support any summer learning program, including our award-winning Virtual STEM Kits, go to boxlight.com.