How to Create a Summer Reading Program for You and Your Child

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3 min read

Summer vacation is a welcome break for many students, but it is equally as critical that this time away from school does not interfere with your child’s learning and skills development. One way to continue your student’s educational progress is to ensure that he or she reads over the summer. This can keep your child’s mind stimulated, as well as ease the transition back to school in the fall. These three tips can also help them to stay current in their classes over the summer. Here are four things to consider when creating a summer reading program for you and your student:

1. Book selection

Begin with a trip to the bookstore or the library so your child can pick several books that interest him or her. Your local public library will likely offer the cheapest options. You can set content guidelines, but it is important that your student be interested in the reading material – otherwise, he or she may not read at all. Remember that all books can help with language development, comprehension, spelling, creativity, and much more. Ensure that your child selects age- and reading level-appropriate books, and schedule a weekly trip to check out or buy new materials. A reading tutor may also help them keep up with their reading during the summer and give you book options your child may not mind reading.

2. “Unplugged” time

Often, mandated reading time can make students groan. Instead, set aside a regular time each night for the whole family to go “screen-free” or “unplugged.” Turn off smartphones, tablets, laptops, televisions, and any other electronics. During this downtime, model the behavior you would like to see – in other words, read! At first, your child may resist, but encourage him or her to continue. Scheduling this time right before bed may also help with sleep patterns. These 6 activities can help students keep learning this summer.

3. Gentle competition

Set up a friendly competition between your student and yourself. Assign points for reading, such as one point per page, and then keep track of how many pages each member of the family reads per day. You can keep a tally on a piece of paper or on a whiteboard on the refrigerator, but the more public the points are, the more the practice encourages friendly competition. At the end of each week, the person who has read the most pages wins. Track these weekly tallies until the end of summer so you can see how many pages and books your family has finished. You’ll likely be surprised by the number! 

4. Small rewards

You can also augment your competition by offering prizes to each week’s winner. Because the hope is to encourage your child to intrinsically love reading, avoid expensive prizes or prizes that cause resentment among members of your family. Instead, hand out a ribbon or trophy to the person who is leading the reading challenge each week – or set goals for the whole family, and reward the family for meeting these reading benchmarks together. For example, if the family reaches a specific number of pages in a single week, then the whole family can go out for pizza, bowling, or dessert (or all three)! 

A summer reading program is a great way to keep your student learning and developing over vacation. A summer reading program can also help to ease the transition back to school in the fall since your child will be accustomed to daily academic work. Most important of all, be sure to have fun, and to enjoy this reading challenge with your student!