A Brief Overview
- Learning Heroes provides help to figure out a child’s reading level, useful when asking for summer reading recommendations from a teacher or librarian.
- Any format that captures a child’s imagination and makes them enjoy reading is valuable. Consider graphic novels, audio books, read aloud online videos, or e-readers in addition to traditional books.
- Consider rewards and prizes for reading achievements. The local library might have a summer program. Read on for ideas.
- Some students will have school-based services over the summer through Extended School Year (ESY), Recovery Services (additional services due to pandemic impacts), or something else. See PAVE’s article: ESY Helps Students Who Struggle to Maintain Skills and Access FAPE.
- PAVE provides a video and an article about supporting students with specific learning disabilities related to literacy.
Summer days offer time to focus on play, creativity, and family fun. If most days also include time for reading, children will better maintain skills they’ve been working on during the school year. Here are tips for families to keep kids engaged in reading.
Check your child’s reading level
If possible, ask a teacher for information about the child’s reading level before school’s out. This information will help you use any reading guides provided by the school or library. Here’s another option: Learning Heroes provides help to figure out a child’s reading level.
Follow your child’s lead
Ask a librarian to show you where to find books in your child’s general reading level, then turn your child loose to explore. Children will often gravitate to books that look interesting and accessible.
Don’t worry if the child wants to explore a book that seems too easy or too hard. Keep in mind that the point is to keep the child interested in reading. Sometimes children need something easy to keep it fun, and sometimes the subject of a harder book makes it more fascinating.
Some children choose comic books or books with diagrams, which are rarely included on teacher lists but can keep kids going to the library. Consider whether guilt-free reading options might reduce battles and keep eyes engaged on the page. Any format that captures a child’s imagination and makes them enjoy reading is valuable. Consider graphic novels, audio books, read aloud online videos, or e-readers in addition to traditional books.
Pull words from the page
Some children prefer or need books that are more interactive. Here are some options:
- A read-aloud, with an adult or child doing the reading
- Read together and share questions and answers along the way
- Act out a book
- Participate in a read-a-thon
- Check out audio books
- Seek applications and video programs that show words and provide narration
An agency called Bookshare provides e-books for children with learning disabilities, vision problems, or conditions such as cerebral palsy. The agency provides alternative reading options, such as braille, audiobooks, large print books, and more.
Make reading part of everyday activities
Children learn reading habits from their family, and when adults show they love to read children will often model that behavior.
Read during everyday activities. Notice and read signs and billboards while you travel around town. Ask children to read the recipe while they help prepare a meal. They can help read a text message, an email, or a letter that came in the mail. Turn on the television’s closed caption feature so a favorite show includes the words to read and follow along.
Understand reading milestones
Washington State’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) provides guidance for teachers and families through Early Literacy Pathways. The downloadable booklet provides a chart of developmental milestones linked to literacy. An alternative place to get this type of information is from Understood.org: Reading skills at different ages.
Resource locations for summer reading
Ask the teacher or school district what they offer over summer. Many schools partner with local organizations or offer school-supported access to digital learning applications, such as
The Barnes & Noble summer reading program is for all ages and allows any child to pick a free book from a predetermined list of books after completing the program. Visit the store to ask for a journal to track summer reading.
Scholastic Summer Challenge (Scholastic.com) has a summer reading challenge called “Readapalooza.” Kids log their reading minutes, unlock badges, and earn rewards.
Search locally online for “summer reading [your city]” or “summer reading program near me” because many local or state-specific businesses and restaurants host summer reading programs.
Happy reading this summer and always!