For many of you, the bell has likely rang for the last time this academic school year. With the majority of school districts in Texas — and all over the US — closing their physical (or virtual) doors for the summer, one thing is guaranteed.
What could that be? Vacations? Summer camp? Well, maybe for some of you — but I’m talking about the coveted summer reading list.
Summer reading lists have been a staple through early and even higher-level education. Required reading from your child’s school or institution. Many may dread the words “here is your summer reading list!” — but the truth is it’s an important part of a student’s curriculum.
School may be out... But for young and developing minds, we can’t afford to go dark all summer.
Summer reading is a way to keep your child engaged and keep their mind sharp in the lull before the next school year starts.
Research shows that those who don't read during the summer can lose up to three months of reading progression. This loss can have a cumulative, long-term effect on your child.
Keep scrolling to discover valuable resources to encourage kids to learn, read, and have fun this summer when it comes to completing their reading lists!
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#1: Leveraging the Power of Audio Books
According to Denise Johnson, assistant professor of reading education at the College of William & Mary, audio books can provide a way for second-language learners, students with learning disabilities, and struggling or non-readers to “access literature and enjoy books.”
What a great way to provide an alternative way to encourage students to read a book! (Long car ride for vacation or camp? Audio book!)
But back to the point, they also provide additional educational benefits for all students, at every level. Denise Johnson argues that audio books can be used to:
Introduce students to books above their reading level
Model good interpretive reading
Teach critical listening
Highlight the humor in books
Introduce new genres that students might not otherwise consider
Introduce new vocabulary or difficult proper names or locales
Provide a read-aloud model
Provide a bridge to important topics of discussion for parents and children who can listen together while commuting somewhere
It’s important to note that audio books should be used to supplement — not entirely replace — reading. But when used alongside other media, audio books can be another excellent way to instill a love of books into your children.
Wondering where you can access free audio books?
I know that the cost of purchasing books and membership fees can add up. Luckily, there are thousands of free audio books available for readers of all ages if you know where to look.
Here are some FREE sites you can use: Librivox, Spotify, Storyline Online, and the K12 Read Aloud Classics app.
#2 Stay on Track with a Reading Calendar
A reading calendar allows you to stay organized and plan ahead. We all know summer time can be busy and it can be extremely easy to procrastinate and fall behind.
There’s tons and tons of free, printable reading logs in a variety of formats all over the web. Browse around to find an option that best fits your family’s needs.
It’s super easy. Most of the time all it requires is the click of a button and downloading and printing a PDF. Some of the most common reading logs you’ll find are daily reading logs. Others include comment fields and many are themed with illustrations. The reading logs are usually designed for elementary levels.
Below you’ll find some easy-to-download reading logs and calendars that you can use right now!
Reading calendar with days of the month in a calendar format
Daily reading log with date, book title, author, and time spent reading
#3 Facilitate and Organize a Book Swap
Book swaps are a fun way to have children socialize with each other and get excited as a group about reading. Anytime you sprinkle in fun and friends, it’s sure to be a good time!
Organizing a book swap for your neighborhood or child’s friend group or team can be an extremely fun, rewarding, and productive way to get summer reading done. Who knows? Maybe it can even turn into an yearly tradition!
The easiest way to organize a book swap is to break it down into three steps. Let’s go into detail what each of these steps requires in the planning phase as well:
1. Before the swap
Invite a range of readers. Doing this provides a range of different types of books to swap.
Encourage families to bring "good" books. Think about what you're willing to swap and what you're not. Decide ahead of time and let everyone know what to bring and what to leave at home — AKA set the standard of what type of books you’d like to see (comic books, chapter books, coloring books, to name a few).
Make signs and provide separate tables for each type of book.
For more fun, have kids make bookmarks to swap with each other as well!
2. During the swap
Ask swappers to sort their books onto the tables using the labels you've set out.
Most swaps are book for book, which means if you bring three books, you take three books. Give a child a ticket for each book they bring to swap. Tickets can then be used to "pay" for swapped books.
Have a few adult chaperones attend to help the kids make their choices. Adults can direct kids towards books on the appropriate reading level or area of interest.
3. After the swap
Decide what to do with the leftover books. I’d suggest looking into donating to your local organizations who can leverage the power of books! (Ultimately, this step is up to you though.)
Sounds like fun, right? Happy reading!
P.S. Jill’s Tutors is here to help you and your student CRUSH their summer reading list! Just give us a call or text 512-812-9502 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org — after that, we’ll set you up with one of our talented, remote educators.