Summer is just around the corner, and like many teachers, you may be thinking about ways to keep your students’ skills up during those months while they are away from school. Or maybe you’re a mom or dad who needs ideas to keep your little one busy. Never fear! I have a few ideas you might try out to keep summer reading happening daily.
Take Advantage of Summer Reading Opportunities
First and foremost, I advise taking advantage of your public library’s offerings. There will be reading incentives, movie times, special programs, and other great opportunities there. Our local library has books on CD, and they are perfect for long car trips for the children and mom and dad. It’s amazing how quickly the time passes when you have a great book to listen to. One of our family favorites was The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Both of my children loved it, and we finished it just as we arrived to our destination.
The library is a great place to meet up with friends, and friends are the best people to offer book suggestions. To get a jump-start on those ideas, you might take time to develop a summer reading wishlist. Recently, my friend, Kristine over at Ms. Jordan Reads shared a great summer reading planner and ideas you might like in [THIS POST]. I also created the freebie to the right. It was inspired by Letterman’s Top 10 lists, but who can narrow it down that much when you’re thinking about books? Now is a great time to do this activity. Not only can it plant summer reading seeds, but it also gives you, the teacher, ideas for what you might recommend next year.
If you find this too time consuming or just don’t have the time for it, I also have reading lists I put together last year for grades K-5 with suggestions for parents too. As the year winds down, it seems we have so much pulling at our time. These may be just what you need. We printed them last year, and included them in the report card envelope with tips the parents could use. Additionally, we opened our school’s library one day a week for check out, and believe it or now, we’ve had quite a few come consistently.
Use Summer Book Clubs to Avoid Summer Slide
I am a believer in book clubs. Why? Well, book clubs are social, and kids like to be social, right? Why not associate reading with something that feels good and is fun. If you’re a mom or dad, and you are able to connect your child with other friends for book club, go for it. If it’s not easy due to work, how about a family book? Choose a chapter book that your child enjoys and have everyone in the family read it. Go have dinner out and use that time to discuss the book. Another twist on this idea for teens is to use social media for discussion. How about a Facebook Group where you and your friends can read/discuss the chapters? Come up with a fun name for your group and set a time when you can meet. Or, even better than Facebook, how about using Google Hangout? I meet with several friends in Google Hangout to discuss plans, and I can see it being a great tool for kids too if used for this purpose.
Use Blogging to Keep Your Kids Reading
This idea came to me last summer, and I can’t say that it was a huge success. However, I will share the idea anyway. I had a blog created for use at school. I titled it, “Where Wild Readers Roam”, and when I switched roles (Literacy Coach), it just didn’t work to use it at school. So, my plan B became to set it up as a Summer Cyber Book Club. Ideally, I would post discussion questions and activities for each chapter on the blog, and the kids comment back with their thoughts. Kids could even share links to projects and things they’ve done via Google docs. To check out the platform, click the image below. The blog is not active at this time, but it is ready to go if I have a little more time this summer.
Another way to use blogging is to let your child do the blogging. You, as the parent, can set up the blog’s privacy settings so that it is free of identifying information. Recently, I set up this blog for my daughter. She enjoys writing book reviews about the books she’s read, and I see it as motivation to read as well as an opportunity to polish her writing skills. After her last post, I had a proud parent moment when I read it. I could completely hear her voice through the post. She is learning how to make images, and such, but I think she’s off to a fantastic start.
Be Strategic with Summer Reading Plans
There are lots of things we can do to set kids up for reading, and they don’t even need to know we have an ulterior motive. Below are a few “little things” you might try.
- We can bring home really enticing books to read to them. Even kids in upper elementary enjoy listening to their parents read, so please do not stop.
- Write them letters and ask them to write you back. (You might involve grandma too.)
- Get them audio books to listen to. They can read along (and hear fluent reading).
- Take them shopping at your favorite book store. No doubt they’ll find a book they want you to buy.
- Offer incentives…”If you finish this book, we’ll go get ice cream as a reward.”
- Plan visits to interesting places and encourage your child to research it before you go.
- See the movie version of books AFTER you read them.
- Set up a cozy reading spot and stock it with a great collection.
- Prevent Summer Slide with Summer Reading Camp: Bats and Birds Week
- Preventing Summer Slide with Summer Reading Camp: Weather Week
- Preventing Summer Slide with Summer Reading Camp: Ocean Week
Summer slide is real, and whether you’re a teacher or a parent, it’s important for us to keep kids motivated through the summer months. It is easy to just kick back and take it easy. We all want to, but guess what? You can kick back and read! Take that relaxed atmosphere and build a love of reading and learning.
So, try out a few experiments, visit your favorite museums or sightseeing places, and take time to play at the park. When you do, carry along a book. You never know. You might find the perfect reading spot!