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5 Ways to Promote Summer Reading

Annie Condron

5 Ways to Promote Summer ReadingYou and your students worked too hard all school year to let the “summer slide” erase their reading progress.  Rather than just assign books for the fall, the most effective way to make summer reading a reality is to MAKE IT FUN!

Try these five simple strategies to spark your students’ interest in summer reading.

Get Students Hooked on Summer Reading

Whether it’s an addictive book series, comics, or even sports blogs, use the knowledge you have of your students’ interests to get them hooked on reading.

Have students share their favorite book and start summer reading lists of their own. It helps to frame this more as a fun opportunity to read books their classmates like than as a summer reading assignment. 

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Reading teacher Franki Sibberson recommends leading students in a bookshare so they can prepare their own summer reading lists.

She sayss,Students usually see summer reading as an assignment, and often put off the reading until the week before school starts. I have found that my upper elementary students and my own children respond more positively when they see summer as a great time to catch up on the reading they haven't had time to get to during the school year.” 

Here are a few book lists to get you started:

Help Students Access Reading Materials

Encourage students to take advantage of the free resources available at their local library. They may know they can get books, but they may not know that they can check out movies, video games, use the computer, or join community reading programs (many of which have incentives for summer reading). Once they’re in, they may even pull up a chair with a good book. Save yourself the research time and invite a librarian to speak to your class and to share info on the summer reading programs your local library offers.

Struggling readers may still be resistant to reading when they don’t absolutely HAVE to, so now is a great time to introduce them to audiobooks for family car trips, or audiovisual read-along websites. These can be great ways to expand their minds during the summer by removing obstacles that may stand in their way.

Here are some great free resources:

  • Audio books from Lit2Go on iTunes. This is a project by Florida State University
  • Many public libraries also have downloadable audiobooks
  • Tumblebooks  has audiovisual readalongs. There is a free 30 day trial and many public libraries offer this as a service
  • Library Thing helps you to create a virtual book shelf
  • Book trailers for kids
  • Stories on StoryLine Online are read by famous actors

Get Parents & Families Involved

Send home a list of recommended summer reading (which you may have already created in your in-class book share), along with a list of the library reading programs and other programs parents can take advantage of over the summer.

Did you have book-related projects that students LOVED (like book reviews, etc.)? Send the instructions home with students/parents for at-home summer projects that can apply to other books.

Encourage parents to create reading incentives as they track their child’s reading progress over the summer. They can keep track on printable summer reading logs, or on

Setting Reading Goals

Just like in the classroom, students will be more likely to go above and beyond if they set goals for their summer reading. There are a ton of programs promoting summer reading and offer incentives to both students and your school. Check out the local library offerings, as well as:

  • Scholastic Summer Challenge
  • Book Adventure Reading Contest
  • 600 Minutes Reading Clubs (The Six Flags ones technically doesn’t start until September - I'm including this because I still think back fondly on riding roller coasters for a day because I reached my reading goal)

To follow through with these goals, you may want to coordinate this effort with the grades above and below you. This Scholastic article shares Renee Parker’s idea to get her future students engaged in summer reading. 

Make Summer Reading Social

As your students create their summer reading list, group them by their interests and encourage them to meet up over the summer to talk about the books on their lists. This is a great motivator to keep them reading, and a way to help shy kids stay social outside of school.

For younger students, you may want to send home contact info for the different members of the group so parents can coordinate meetings. For older students, have them put together a reading calendar and coordinate their own book club meetings. Even if they don’t follow through on the club, they’ve got a reading plan on paper.

Make sure you download TeachHUB's Summer Book Club Guide and share it with your class

The internet can also help make reading social. If your students are on Facebook, they can start reading groups, invite classmates to book club events, or keep tabs on their reading lists by using one of the many Facebook Bookshelf apps.

The RIF Book Zone and Goodreads are also fun websites for tracking your bookshelf and interacting with other readers.


Now, you tell us: how do you encourage summer reading? Share in the comments section!

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