Most students are not typically excited about summer reading assignments. Thinking of doing anything remotely related to school work during summer vacation is not at the forefront of their minds. However many teachers are aware that this is the time when the achievement gaps widens. “Summer Slide” is known to rear its ugly head during the summer and doesn’t contribute to growth with respect to reading. Reading is a skill that requires continuous practice in order to improve. These are eight ways to pique students’ interest in reading during the summer and perhaps at other times during the year.
1. Let them choose - Aside from any required reading, let kids choose what books they would like to read. They are more likely to finish a book they selected than one you select for them. Most kids typically choose books within their favorite genre. That’s okay because they will get exposure to different genres during the school year.
2. Read outdoors (weather permitting) - Find a comfortable, shady area to do so. It is good to read in a non controlled environment. Also reading outside requires one to concentrate better as there are many sounds of nature to contend with. Parents: Reading to your child (emerging readers) outside will help them learn to concentrate as well. It also allows for you to extend the reading with an activity related to the storyline.
3. Join a Summer Reading Club - Many local libraries offer summer reading clubs for elementary, middle and high school students. Barnes & Noble also offers a summer reading club for kids. Formats for reading clubs may vary but typically students log their reading minutes and in turn periodically receive rewards for their efforts.
4. Set a goal, and reward yourself - Decide on a reasonable number of books/minutes to read for the summer, and reward yourself when you accomplish your goal. This requires a lot of discipline.
5. Read while “on the move” - With Kindles, eReaders, smartphones and tablets it is easy to literally have several books with you at all times. You can read in the car, read while waiting to see the doctor, etc. No pressure...reading at your leisure.
6. Parents can serve as reading models - Parents who read often are more likely to have children that do the same.
7. Go beyond the book - Visit locations where the book(s) take place (if possible/reasonable). If not, you can visit those places virtually via the Internet. This provides an opportunity to learn so much more and integrates social studies, geography, and math.
8. Complete a non-traditional book report - Think outside of the box, and create an innovative alternative to the written book report. Examples include (but aren’t limited to) creating a cartoon version of the book, creating a short video clip about the book, or creating a movie poster.
Here are some other suggestions regarding incorporating reading into the summer months:
A. Cooking and Reading - Preparing meals together and having your child read the directions aloud (math can be a part of this as well)
B. Turn off the television - It is very important to limit/monitor the number of hours of television children watch.
C. Establish scheduled reading times - Make this time a part of your child's daily summer routing
D. Book vsMovie - Most kid movies are based upon books (e.g. Because of Winn-Dixie). Have your child read the book and watch the movie then have a discussion comparing and contrasting the two. This is also a great way to encourage unenthusiastic readers to read.
Do you have any ideas to share? If so, post a comment!