What’s great about summer reading? Reading what kids want to read, finding the “home-run” book that hooks you into reading and letting reading be fun. Choice reading is the way to go in the summer! Students self-selecting their own reading in the summer will both help them become life-long readers and reduce summer learning loss. There is extensive research demonstrating that student choice in reading positively impacts the desire to read as well as improves reading skills. During the school year, students don’t always have time to read what they want. Try to make summer about reading for fun!
How do you help your child find books they will love? Visit your local library and find the children’s/young adult librarian. The good ones are masters at pairing kids with books that they will enjoy. Your local library (and sometimes bookstore) may also have book clubs for kids and often those book clubbers create suggested reading lists. Of course you can also sign up for the library’s summer reading program – kids who participate are shown to have increases in reading ability over kids who don’t participate in summer reading programs.
Find other ways to help students discover a great book! Check out the following sites for crowd-sourced book reviews and find suggestions of books from young adults and children: Goodreads, Dogobooks, Bookopolis, and Litpick. In the world of “all things YouTube” for teens and kids, check out these fun book vloggers: Abbokutopia, Jesse the Reader, Epic Reads, Katytastic, PeruseProject, and BenjaminofTomes. Staying in the multi-media world, there are also very well produced book trailers on YouTube to help raise interest in new titles. Often publisher-created book trailers are the most slick and the most engaging. Check these out: FierceReads, Penguin Teen, HarperTeen, and CBC Picture Book Trailers.
If you are looking for a list of popular books to start with, check out these links to summer reading lists: ALSC Summer Reading List, Scholastic Summer Reading List, ALA Tween Summer Reading, Horn Book Summer Reading, NPR Book Concierge, and the New York Times Best Sellers (filter using the “Children’s” tab).
Try new book/reading related activities with kids this summer. Consider your own family book club and read together. You could even add your own reading incentives if that works for you and your children. BiblioNasium is an easy and safe way to track reading and host your own online book club. If your family is able to buy books and create your own household library, consider finding ways to give books to those who don’t have them at home. Summer learning loss is a far more significant problem in low income households, particularly those without books at home. Here are some places to investigate: Wake Up and Read, BookHarvestNC, and BetterWorldBooks.
Kerri Brown Parker is the Instructional Technology and Literacy Librarian for the Media and Education Technology Resource Center (METRC) in the College of Education. As the librarian for the College of Education, Kerri leads sessions on children’s literature, information literacy and instructional technology integration.