Teachers and parents alike know all about the loss of reading skills and habits that typically occurs over the summer vacation. We have all seen the research, read the blogs, or witnessed it firsthand with our children and students. The key to preventing it is to make sure our readers practice during the summer months. But how do we keep our kids motivated when the schedules are looser, the pool is calling, and the sunshine beckons them outside? Here are seven strategies to keep our readers motivated and reading all summer long.
Set a summer reading goal before summer vacation begins
Teachers can help students make and reach their summer reading goals by helping them set realistic goals. Help students build a summer reading list. Guide students in finding a new book or series, even a blog or comic to get hooked on, to read over the summer. When students select their reading material and read for enjoyment, the outcome is more positive and fulfilling for the student. Summer is the perfect time to catch up on the reading they didn’t have time for during the school year. Get families involved by sending home book recommendations, suggestions for encouraging reading at home as a family, and various reading programs that are available. Encourage parents to create incentives that will motivate their children to read every day
Check out your local library and bookstore
Your local library and bookstores have summer reading programs available free of charge. These programs vary based on the age of your student but almost always include some type of incentive to keep kids reading. In addition to the incentives, many libraries and bookstores offer drop-in programs related to reading. You may find book clubs, reading times, crafts, as well as online adventures. Check out your local library branch or community bookstore to see what they offer. Take advantage of the incentives and accountability they provide.
Keep it light and let them pick
Students may have an assigned book for the summer but otherwise, let them select the book titles. Student choice when reading is key to engagement. If they select their own books (within their appropriate reading range) students are much more likely to want to read. In addition to choice, all reading counts! Summer reading can be “lighter” content; this is the time it is OK to read that Captain Underpants book. The comics online or in the newspaper, magazine articles, recipes, sports commentary, even the back of the cereal box in the morning … it all counts as reading!
Join Camp Newsela
Newsela is offering a unique summer reading club free to all students. Educators at Newsela will be hosting seven different reading clubs that students can join. The clubs are based on high interest topics and will allow kids to read two assigned articles per week. As they read, students will complete the quiz that accompanies the article. There is a little competition involved to keep the kids motivated. The club that has the highest percentage of students who both completed at least 80% of the assigned articles as well as achieved a score of at least 2 out of 4 on the quizzes will have a special opportunity to give back to the educational community. The winning club will be offered the chance to vote on a DonorsChoose.org project for the Newsela team to help fund.
Make it a social media adventure
Kids love selfies and social media. Harness that power and make your summer reading an adventure that you chronicle as a family. Take reading selfies and photos in all the fun spots you read this summer. Choose a form of social media to share them and create a family summer reading hashtag. Make it a goal to take a picture of reading daily. By the end of the summer, you will have an awesome collection of family photos highlighting all of the reading you did together. If you aren’t comfortable with social media, students can collect the photos and make a slideshow using a presentation app they know from school.
Host an online book club
Students are connected to technology every day and love to share their ideas. Why not keep it going in the summer by setting up an online book club? Use sites such as Padlet and Edmodo for students to share what books they are reading over the summer. Students can share their thoughts as they journey through a book, as well as make recommendations to other students. Teachers can keep it simple by creating an open forum where students can share about their individual books or get a little more involved by setting up groups with the same book. Online book clubs can help maintain momentum and provide positive accountability for summer reading. Want to make it even easier to stay connected? Have students share what they are reading by creating a class summer reading hashtag. Students can tweet out what they are reading with a reading selfie.
Have a summer book swap
What’s a great way for students to try out a new book? Have a book swap before summer begins to get new books into your students’ hands. Whether your class holds a book swap or a school or grade-level book swap is organized, students will begin summer eager to read something new. This is also a good opportunity to get books in the hands of students who may not have many books at home. Be ready with books to give away in case all of your students are not able to bring in books to swap.
Trying any (or all) of these tips to keep your students reading, and engaged, this summer? Let us know: Tweet us at @newsela.