10 Tips to Get Kids Reading This Summer

School’s out for the summer!

Barbeques, block parties, pool time, camping… Woohoo it’s summer!!! But what seems like endless sunny days ahead, a dark shadow hangs over this time of the year for school age kids K-12, most popularly referred to as “the summer slide”.

According to the Summer National Learning Association, “Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematics computation skills over the summer months [and] low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement.” One of the best ways to beat these grim statistics is by empowering kids to read during the summer days ahead.

But how?

Below, I’ve whipped up a few tips that should help beat the summer slide and encourage reading throughout the summertime. Also, starting next week, I’ll be posting themed recommended reading lists titled: “The Summer Book Hook”. Each Thursday, a recommended book lists will be posted here at Sturdy For Common Things to assist in keeping kids hooked on reading throughout the summer.

10 Tips to Get Kids Reading This Summer:

  1. Pick up a summer reading log at your local library. Goals and prizes are great motivators. Here is where you can find a public library in your neighborhood.
  2. Set aside reading time. 30 minutes, 6 days a week. That’s 3 hours each week. 30 hours total for the summer. It could be 30 minutes before swim lessons. Or 30 minutes before bed.  Whenever works best with you and your child’s schedule. I recommend downloading this Reading Timer App from Scholastic. Price: FREE! If you schedule it, it won’t fall through the cracks. Treat it like any other appointment.
  3. Let them pick out their books. Embrace that they might not pick out a traditional book per se  (Coin Collecting for Kids, the graphic novel series Babymouse, etc.) and really that’s okay!  Becoming a passionate reader stems from finding enjoyment in the act. Joke books, I Spy, graphic novels, kids magazines… it has to start somewhere. As a caregiver, you will know what content is appropriate for them, but as the ones doing the reading it’s important for kids to have a say in what they read. It will only reinforce their desire to continue reading.
  4. Variety. A common concern of parents is that their child has read The Diary of a Wimpy Kid six times in a row and have no interest in anything else. My first response to that is that it’s great they the have found something they enjoy reading. The hardest step is finding that gateway book to perk their interests in the first place, so it’s already an accomplishment that the excitement for reading is there. My recommendation is to allow them to read The Diary of a Wimpy Kid as many times as they like, but persuade them to read a different book in between.
  5. Go on an adventure! Read about something they can go experience afterwards. Local monuments, zoos, museums, outside in your very own backyard, etc.
  6. Planning to go on a summer trip? Read books about your vacation destination beforehand and/or take a few on the road. Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) has regional and international book lists available for your use.
  7. Check out audiobooks! So many families find audiobooks are an enjoyable outlet during road trips whether it’s to the grocery store or a trek across the country.  This doesn’t just go for cars… planes, boats, trains, camelback. Also makes for much quieter traveling for the parents. Be sure to take a couple minutes to read this New York Times article which includes a steller list of recommended audiobooks for kids of all ages.
  8. Read aloud time. Even if you’re not the best reader, children love being read aloud to. It’s also a great way to set aside time to spend together.
  9. Participate in National Summer Reading Programs: New York Times Summer Reading Contest, Barnes & Noble Summer Reading, Scholastic Summer Challenge…  Just like participating in your local libraries program, these national programs also have perks and rewards.
  10. Organize a book club! Encourage your child to start a book club with their friends. After they’ve finished reading their chosen book, allow them to host a book club party or a sleepover to celebrate. Go all out and theme the party after the book. Or choose a book that has a movie and have a movie watch party.
  11. Constant support. Remember… sometimes getting kids to read is a piece of cake. Sometimes it just so happens, you’ll fail a handful of times before it gets better. Encouragement is key. If you ever you need advice or book suggestions or someone to champion your efforts email me. Anytime. I’m here for you.

Okay, so there was 11 tips… the more the merrier, right?

Good luck and Happy Reading!

additional article sources: UpNext: The IMLS Blog, Reading is Fundamental

image source: summer


8 Responses to “10 Tips to Get Kids Reading This Summer”

  1. Mom says:

    Tons of great ideas! Wish you were around when my kids were little…oh yea, you were!

  2. Great post, thanks! (Also, that is such a whimsical and charming illustration!). I’m linking to this on Streetside’s FB and Twitter.


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