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The summer is a time when children look forward to playing with friends and escaping the classroom, but it can also be a time when they lose their progress from the previous school year. Reading and writing can be incorporated into summer activities to keep students on track for next school year and give families the opportunity to spend more time together.
A Brown University study showed that students lose between 17-34% of their learning over the summer break, most notable in math and reading. Additionally, students who lose knowledge over one summer tend to lose it each summer.
As a way to minimize summer learning loss, we’ve put together a few tips and resources created by educators on Teachers Pay Teachers, to help you come up with fun ways to encourage reading during summer breaks, including a reading journal to help you keep track of their progress.
1. Help Them Choose Books They’ll Enjoy
Children are much more likely to enjoy reading when they are reading about something they are interested in. For example, little ones may enjoy reading about animals they love while older readers may like mysteries or thrillers. Local libraries tend to have vast summer programs and are great places for children to explore different genres, do ‘picture walks’ of books and learn about exciting new book series! The best part about libraries is that they are free for everyone to enjoy.
TPT Resource: More Mini Mysteries: 20 Fun Mystery Stories and Reading Comprehension Activities
Grade Levels: 2-6
Created by Remedia Publications, an educational resource company founded by two spedical education teachers, this fun lesson gives students mysteries to read. Short and engaging, these stories are ideal for capturing reluctant readers’ interest, and they’re easily digestible for any student. They even provide coinciding follow-up questions ensure comprehension!
2. Keep a Reading Log
Summer reading logs are a great way for kids to see how much they’ve read over the summer and learn what types of genres they enjoy. A paper or digital reading log is an easy way to help bring structure to independent reading and increase accountability. Reading logs also help students see their progress and make great resources for book reports or other reading assignments during the upcoming school year!
TPT Resource: Summer Reading Log and Calendar Set
Grade Levels: PreK-6
Created by educator Amanda, founder of Amanda’s Little Learners, presents this easy to use summer reading log for monitoring summer reading. Children can record the author and title of a book, as well as provide a rating on a scale of 1-5. Challenge your budding learners to read several books over the summer and share with their new teacher and classmates when they head back to school.
3. Create Scavenger Hunts
It is usually the case that children must read a list to take part in a scavenger hunt, but what if the hunt was turned into a reading-focused game? Fun learning games are hard to resist, aren’t they?Â
The more children enjoy a game, the more likely they are to want to play and in turn, the more time they’ll spend reading!
TPT Resource: Reading Bundle Scavenger Hunts
Grade Levels: 2-6
This unique bundle of scavenger hunt printables was designed by educator Ann Fausnight. She created some fun scavenger hunts that encourage reading practice for readers of all ages. Just print out the cards, cut them apart and hide them in spots at home, in the yard or in a park for readers to find!
4. Read Together
Reading together and having a shared activity gives you and your child something to talk about which aides in reading, writing and comprehension skills. Reading also helps children experience new situations before they encounter them in real life such as books that talk about entering a new grade at school or meeting new people. It is also a great way for children to experience diversity, relate to the experiences of others and improve their concentration.
TPT Resource: Reading Comprehension Worksheets for Any Story
Grade Levels: 5-8
Once you and your child read a book, check-in with each other by filling in these handy worksheets. Designed by Musings from Middle School, these comprehension sheets can be discussed in conversation or written out to save for future reading projects.
5. Plan a Trip and Document It
Many families travel during the summer vacation so having students help plan a real or pretend trip can be a good way to practice reading and writing. They can then journal about their activities they’d like to do, what they would like to explore, why they would like to go on this trip and even use the library as a fun way to research more information about their ideal road trip!
TPT Resource: Road Trip Planner
Grade Levels: 8-12
Created by Green Teas and Chickpeas, this road trip planning lesson is a great way to organize information. They can write in their planner about their trip and take turns reading this information when they are back in school. In the meantime, these simple planner sheets will help students plan out their vacation trips.
6. Join a Library Program
Many libraries have multiple summer reading programs to keep young readers engaged and excited about reading. Some even offer prizes for those who read a certain number of books, with bigger prizes for the more prolific readers.
TPT Resource: Interactive Library & Reading Portfolio Google Drive Alternative to Reading Logs
Grade Levels: 4-12
Amy Mezni of Teaching Ideas 4U created this unique method of offering an interactive classroom library which can be used in the classroom and also by parents at home to set up ‘home libraries’. Family members can add to the library by adding a cover of the book and even adding their own link to review it! Siblings, family members or even future classmates can search the library and read loved ones’ book reviews!
With so many ways to encourage reading, your children should have plenty of reading opportunities this summer. The chance to read throughout their weeks off from school ensures they won’t lose the vital skills they’ve picked up during the school year.