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Summer Reading Tips and Book Recommendations

June 19, 2023

As parents and caregivers, we want to keep our kids engaged in learning during the summer break. Many learners will experience what is known as the “summer slide” which is when they lose some of the academic gains they have made during the school year over summer break. Reading, particularly in the elementary years, is an area that is vulnerable to that learning loss. Below are some recommendations for keeping elementary kids engaged in reading during the summer.

girl with book

Encourage your child to set a summer reading goal, such as reading a certain number of books or reading for a certain amount of time each day. Here are some tips that will help if your reader decides to set a summer reading goal:

  • Create a reading list: Sit down with your child and help them create a list of books they want to read over the summer. This will give them a clear idea of what books they want to read and help them stay motivated.
  • Join a summer reading program: Many libraries and bookstores offer summer reading programs for kids. These programs can provide incentives for meeting reading goals, such as prizes or rewards.
  • Track progress: Help your child track their reading progress with a chart or graph. This can be a fun visual way for them to see how far they've come and how much they have left to go.
  • Read together: Set aside time each day to read together with your child. This can help them stay motivated and engaged with their reading.

If your child is a reluctant reader, it can be challenging to find books that will engage them and spark their interest. However, there are many books out there that are perfect for helping readers discover a love of reading. Graphic novels are books that combine text and illustrations, making them visually appealing and easy to follow. A few of my favorites are the Dog Man Books series, The Bad Guys Series, and The Babysitters Club. They cover a wide range of topics and genres, from superheroes to memoirs. Short stories such as fables or folktales are a great way to introduce readers to new authors and styles. They are also less overwhelming than a full-length novel, making them a good starting point. 

Many reluctant readers prefer non-fiction books because they are interested in learning about a particular topic. A favorite in my classroom are the Who Would Win books by Jerry Polatta. Look for books on subjects like animals, history, science, or sports. Series books are great for all readers, but they can be the perfect way to hook your child because they allow them to get invested in a character or storyline and follow it through multiple books. Look for popular series like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, or Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Bad Gays book   Baby-Sitters club book   big shot book

Another great resource to utilize over the summer is a local public library. Take your child to the library regularly to pick out new books and participate in summer reading programs. Visiting the library can be a fun and educational experience for both you and your child. Here are some additional benefits of taking your child to the library regularly:

  • Your child will have access to a wide range of books and resources at the library, which can help broaden their horizons and expose them to new ideas and perspectives.
  • Regular reading can help improve your child's literacy skills, including their vocabulary, comprehension, and critical thinking abilities.
  • Participating in summer reading programs and other library events can provide opportunities for your child to socialize with other children and make new friends.
  • Visiting the library is a cost-effective way to provide your child with access to a wide range of books and resources, without having to purchase them all yourself.

So why not take advantage of all the benefits the library has to offer? Make it a regular part of your routine to take your child to the library and encourage them to explore new books and ideas.

Reading different types of books, including fiction, non-fiction, and graphic novels is also helpful when encouraging your child to read this summer. By reading different types of books, children can develop a variety of skills and interests. Here are some ideas to help your child explore different genres. For fiction, try different genres such as mystery, fantasy, or historical fiction. Ask your child what they enjoy most and find books that match their interests. The I Survived Series has great historical fiction texts and they now have graphic novel versions of this popular series.

Non-fiction books can teach children about new topics and help them learn about the world around them. Look for books about animals, science, history, or biographies of people they admire. Little People, Big Dreams has a wide variety of biographies for elementary aged readers. The most important thing is to make reading enjoyable for your child. By finding books that match their interests and reading level, you can help them develop a lifelong love of reading.

dad with son read book

Remember to make it fun! Incorporate reading into fun activities, like going on a picnic and bringing along a book, or reading a book together before bed. Incorporating reading into fun activities is a great way to make reading enjoyable for children and encourage them to read more. You can create a cozy reading nook in your home with comfortable seating, good lighting, and a selection of books that your child enjoys. It is also important to let your child choose the books they want to read. Take them to the library or bookstore and let them browse the shelves to find something that catches their interest. Use technology to your advantage. There are many reading apps and e-books available that can make reading more interactive and engaging for children.

Encouraging kids to read is a fantastic way to boost their knowledge and creativity. With modern technology, there are countless apps available that can help make reading fun and engaging for children. Here are some apps you might want to consider:

  • Epic: This app provides access to a huge library of books, including popular titles from publishers like National Geographic and HarperCollins.
  • Reading Rainbow: Based on the beloved TV show, this app offers a range of books and videos designed to spark kids' imaginations.
  • ABCmouse: This app offers a comprehensive early learning curriculum, including reading and language arts activities.
  • Vooks: Vooks brings storybooks to life through animated illustrations, making reading an immersive experience for kids.
  • Speakaboos: With a focus on interactive storytelling, Speakaboos offers a range of books and songs designed to engage young readers.

These are just a few examples of the many learning apps available to help kids develop their reading skills. By incorporating technology into the learning process, you can help make reading a fun and exciting activity for your child.

You can also use video books that make reading an easy and fun assisted activity where a child can relax and enjoy the story while also developing their word recognition and reading comprehension skills. 

Keeping kids engaged in reading during the summer can help them maintain their reading proficiency levels and develop a lifelong love for reading. Remember that fun and variety are key in the summer, especially when it comes to reading!

You can also keep their learning journey going by utilizing Kids Academy's catalog of reading resources!

Written by Nora Brown,

Elementary School Teacher and Mom of 2

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