3 easy ways to encourage summer reading

Three young girls and a boy are outdoors during summer. They are laying in the grass and reading a book together.

Teachers around the world know how crucial establishing a summer reading routine is to combat the summer slide. Since teachers rely on students’ parents to help with summer reading at home, it’s important to have a variety of easy solutions available depending on what works best with a flexible schedule.

Three young girls and a boy are outdoors during summer. They are laying in the grass and reading a book together.

The benefits of reading go far beyond success in the traditional school setting. Reading sparks imagination and improves critical thinking skills, increases general knowledge, encourages diversity and inclusion, enhances cultural and historical knowledge, and books allow the reader to escape into characters and lands they might never be able to visit.

Summers are busy and can feel never-ending for working parents. Establishing a steady reading routine will keep students practicing good habits all year round. There are many quick and easy ways to make reading part of their summer schedule, but our favorite suggestions are outlined below.

Image of a stack of books with an e reader next to it.

The public library

Public libraries host a variety of free events for community members and families. Spending a hot afternoon cooling off in the library can encourage lasting positive behavior into a student’s later school and work years. Benefits of public libraries:

  1. Free membership
  2. Summer reading programs with prizes and recognition
  3. Educational events for children and families that help promote excitement around reading
  4. Age-appropriate book cycles
  5. Access to technology, computers and internet
  6. Extensive e-reader and audiobook selections

Set a reading schedule

Encourage your students to have some reading time every day where they get to choose what they want to read. Some students can feel like they don’t have time to read for pure enjoyment during the school year, since they’re busy with the set curriculum. Consider sending home suggested reading lists for your students with milestones and goals to hit. You can even set up a contest or prize to encourage participation.

Download a reading sample list from Imagination Soup and Common Sense Media for ideas.

Suggest non-traditional reading experiences

Encourage activities that involve non-traditional reading. Cooking and following recipes challenges children to use not only reading skills, but mathematics skills as well, making sure they’re not lost or forgotten over the long summer months. Propose ideas for families to participate in cooking activities where children participate in the reading or the steps and measuring of the ingredients.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) activities are always a hit with students, inside or outside of the classroom. Offer parents ideas of how to use picture books and participate in a STEM activity after reading them. Stemtropolis and the Denver Public Library have some resources to get started.

A man helps a boy measure cooking ingredients.

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