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How to Encourage Reading in the Summer

The summer slide is a real thing.  I’ve seen it for years and years and teachers are always wondering how they can prevent it.  If your school or district is lucky enough to have summer school, then signing every child you can up for that is wonderful.  If you don’t, then we need to give the job to the parents.  While it’s important for students to enjoy their summer, not reading at all can be detrimental to their reading progress.  Here’s one way I’m going to try to encourage reading over the summer.

For years my school has provided a summer school option for students just at or below grade level.  And for years, I’ve signed up as many kids as I can.  It was a fun learning environment that included field trips, breakfast and lunch, and slower-paced learning activities.  It was a fabulous resource that we had.  This year, however, we don’t have it so we are trying to come up with ideas that parents can do with their children at home.

Essentially, we’re putting the work on the parents.  While that’s fine and they should be responsible for it, they often don’t know what to do.  So one thing I’m planning on doing is encouraging my families to continue their nightly family read alouds.


Family Read Alouds

During the school year every night, my students bring home one family read aloud book.  This is a picture book in English or Spanish that is typically above their individual reading level.  It’s for a grown-up to read TO them.  I typically start this at the beginning of the year as a way to get a reading routine in place.

Each day, when the students do their homework bags, their job is to choose a new family read aloud book and return the one they had the day before.  Around my room, I have bins for these books and each child goes to their bin to get a new book and return the old one.  These books include any picture book that I have that is not a fit for my leveled library and ones that encourage good discussion about different topics.

Click >>HERE<< or on the image below to get an editable version you can use. 

Along with that letter, we include an information sheet with additional ways they can talk about books and questions to ask their child, while also including a bookmark with similar questions and discussion points.

Click >>HERE<< or on the image below to get this free resource.
Whatever homework system you use, would be fine to continue.  You’ll see in the letter home to parents that this family read aloud reading or their independent reading (which we start later in the year) can count towards their nightly reading homework.

Encouraging Summer Reading

So here’s my idea…I have to be honest, I haven’t tried it yet, we’ll see how it goes this summer.  Since my families are already in the routine of family read alouds and reading every night, and I know for a fact, that my parents LOVE it, I’m going to encourage them to continue it throughout the summer.
I’ll send home a Summer Reading Challenge, with reading logs for the months of June, July, and August.  If they read throughout the summer, complete their reading logs and turn it in when we come back to school, I’ll reward them with something.  Let’s be honest, it will probably be a new book. ????
I’ll send home a new letter explaining their challenge, new bookmarks on colorful paper and their reading logs.
It’s that simple!
As a first grader, their listening, expression, and comprehension skills are still growing and continuing the family read alouds over the summer will continue to grow these valuable skills.  While some of my students, I know, will read over the summer on their own, those that are below grade level or are not engaged in reading will not.  And who do we really need to prevent the summer slide from?  THEM!  If we can encourage families to continue the family read alouds at home, we might just be able to support all of our learners as they head into second grade.
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