Strategies to Encourage Summer Reading

Summer. The word alone conjures images of the pool, beach, sand, sun, relaxing with a good book…

Unfortunately, summer break often means a vacation from reading for many students.

Summer Reading Loss Research

The importance of summer reading is well documented in educational research. Studies confirm that summer reading loss perpetuates the achievement gap between low-socioeconomic communities and more advantaged communities. However, Jimmy Kim (2004) found that reading as few as four to five books over the summer could potentially prevent a decline in reading achievement. As Cahill, Horvath, McGill-Franzen and Allington (2013) stated in their book No More Summer-Reading Loss, “summer reading is not optional but necessary.”

How to Encourage Summer Reading

So how might we encourage summer reading in our students?  What supports might we put in place to ensure children keep reading over the summer? Research has pointed us in the direction of access, choice and engagement.

  • Provide access to interesting books, such as, a favorite series, nonfiction on interesting topics, funny books, graphic novels, and visually interesting texts (Cahill et al, 2013)
  • Go to the library, borrow from school, book trades
  • Allow students to choose their own books
  • Make sure they can choose from a variety of genres, levels, topics

Parents can be reading partners. Read with your child, have your child read aloud to you.

  • Encourage use of learned reading strategies
  • Help children set summer reading goals. What do you want to accomplish as a reader this summer?
  • Encourage engagement through interaction: blogs, recommendation notebooks, postcards to the teacher, neighborhood book clubs, response journals

* Children can even win new books by joining the Kent District Library Summer Reading Program or Barnes and Nobles Summer Reading Program

Reading Strategies to Share with Parents

Looking for ways to work with your child at home? Want to empower parents to feel confident working with their child at home?  Check out these Parent Quick Tip Literacy Videos:

Activating Prior Knowledge Strategy

Predicting Strategy

Questioning Strategy

Decoding Strategies

Reading Formats

This blog post was written by Jennifer Merkel, Early Literacy Coach for Kent ISD  and Amanda Walma, Professional Learning Coordinator at Kent ISD.

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