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10 Ideas to Make Summer Reading Fun

10 Ideas to Make Summer Reading Fun

As the bell rings on the last day of school and students transition from the rigorous pace of the classroom to summer, an opportunity presents itself to accelerate learning in fun and engaging ways. 

Discover the benefits of summer learning and ten creative approaches to support literacy development during the break from school.

What are the benefits of summer reading?

Research shows reading over the summer brings numerous benefits:

  • Increased cognitive development and academic performance.
  • Strengthened phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency skills. 
  • Development of language skills.
  • Increased motivation to learn about new topics that build background knowledge. 
  • Improved attitudes towards reading.
  • Preparedness for the upcoming school year.

 Not only does it strengthen foundational reading skills, but it also provides kids with space to be creative while exploring new topics and genres and opportunities to participate in reading experiences that aren’t always feasible during the school year.

 “See what you can do to get kids to read just a little each day over the summer. That kind of regular practice should help them to not onlyprevent learning loss, but actuallybuild their decoding skills over the summer.” Dr. Paul von Hippel, Professor at the University of Texas at Austin

 

 

Try These 10 Activities to Make Summer Reading Fun

While some kids might sigh at the thought of learning over the summer, families, caregivers, and summer programs can present reading in ways that get kids excited to read. 

Here are 10 summer reading ideas for elementary students and beyond.

1. Create a Summer Reading Challenge

    Provide a list of places and lengths of time to read, people to read to, and so on. Incorporate rewards to add an extra layer of motivation.

    2. Visit Your Local Library or Community Center for Summer Programs
    Besides being a place to access multitudes of free books, many public libraries and community centers offer fun summer programs for kids and families to learn together. 

    3. Host a Book Club or Reading Party
    Organize a summer book club or reading party. Kids pick a book to read together and participate in discussions, activities, or even a themed party based on the book.

    4. Create a Cozy Reading Space
    A dedicated reading space can make reading feel special. Transform a corner of your home or an outdoor area into a cozy space used only for reading.

    5. Combine Reading with Other Activities
    Integrate reading with other activities. For instance, if a child reads a non-fiction book about owls, encourage them to draw an owl or write a story with an owl as the main character. If they read a book about a trip to a museum, design a museum on paper, create one with household items, or even take a trip to a museum. 

    6. Read in ____ Places Challenge
    Cut out strips of paper and write a number on each. Have your child close their eyes and choose to reveal the number of places to read this summer. Create a fun reading log to keep track.

    7. Write a Script and Perform a Play
    This activity not only ignites creativity and nurtures family bonding, but it also provides opportunities to develop writing skills and practice fluency, both essential for increasing reading proficiency. 

    8. Design a Genre Challenge
    Encourage kids to explore different genres. Encourage them to step out of their comfort zones and discover new ideas and writing styles while practicing foundational reading skills and building background knowledge. 

    Examples of genres to add to explore include:

    • Realistic fiction
    • Non-fiction
    • Fantasy
    • Mystery
    • Adventure
    • Historical fiction 
    • Poetry
    • Biography/Autobiography
    • Graphic novel/comic book
    9. Continue the Conversation About Characters

    Discuss what different book characters would do as various situations arise during summer. How would a particular character solve this problem? On slow days, what would this character feel like doing today? What would this character say to a friend who feels _____? What would this character suggest we cook for dinner? The opportunities for conversations about characters are endless!

    10. Change It Up!
    Spark curiosity by changing elements of the story. Write the following suggestions on separate slips of paper. Kids close their eyes and choose a paper to reveal their challenge. Have them write it down to reinforce writing skills or have a conversation to improve oral language skills. 

    • Rewrite the ending of the story. 
    • Add another character to the story. How would the new character change the events of the story?
    • Change the main character's personality or character traits. For example, if the character is responsible, change their trait to irresponsible. How would this change the events of the story?
    • Change the setting, where and when the story takes place. How would the events unfold differently?
    • Write a sequel or prequel to the story. 
    • Rewrite the story from the perspective of a different character. How would their viewpoint change the events of the story?


    Make Summer Reading Engaging with Just Right Reader Take-Home Decodable Packs

    Whether used for summer school programs or at home,Just Right Reader Take-Home Decodable Packs provide personalized phonics practice that motivates kids to continue reading and strengthens their decoding skills during summer break.

     

    Our Take-Home Decodable Packs Feature:

    Just Right Reader Take-Home Decodable Packs
    • Science of Reading decodables personalized for each student based on district reading assessment data.
    • Writing pages to reinforce decoding and writing skills.
    • Research-based activities that motivate students to read.
    • QR codes to access fun phonics lessons in English and Spanish to support students and families reading at home.
    • Backpacks for students to take their reading everywhere.

    Are you a district leader looking to amplify your summer program? Learn how to leverage summer as an opportunity to accelerate reading achievement




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    References: 

         Alexander, K. L., Entwisle, D. R., & Olson, L. S. (2007). Lasting consequences of the summer learning gap.American Sociological Review, 72(2), 167–180.

         Atteberry, A., & McEachin, A. (in press, 2020). School's out: The role of summers in understanding achievement disparities. American Educational Research Journal.

         Cooper, H., Nye, B., Charlton, K., Lindsay, J., & Greathouse, S. (1996).The effects of summer vacation on achievement test scores: A narrative and meta-analytic review.Review of Educational Research,66(3), 227–268.

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