When children leave school for the last time to welcome the beginning of summer vacation, many are encouraged to join a summer reading club at the library. Some schools also send home a list of books to further facilitate reading during the long break.
The summer slide is real, and children who don’t continue to read during the summer could lose literacy skills and start the next year trying to make up the learning gap. Parents might perceive school-issued summer reading lists as another battle with their child, but Readability’s 2022 summer reading lists for kids of all ages include ideas on how to make reading fun.
Here’s how to encourage a summer filled with books, stories and new reading adventures. We’re breaking down reading activities, tips and games for all grade levels.
2022 Summer Reading List for Preschool and Kindergarten
Children who are about to enter preschool or kindergarten might be working on the core fundamentals of letters, sounds and early reading skills. Parents should try to read to children everyday to help them increase their vocabulary and prepare for learning to read. Or, if you don’t have time, you can have them use Readability’s storytime feature to have the AI Tutor read stories to young children.
While reading regularly is the best way to help young children build early literacy skills, parents also can help younger emerging readers master their letters and sounds with these activities and games:
- Use sidewalk chalk to help children learn to write the alphabet. Parents can purchase a bundle of colorful sidewalk chalk to help children practice their letters. Sidewalk chalk is typically chunky, and this makes it easier for smaller hands to grasp and hold. Show them how to write a few letters at a time. Just make sure not to chalk anywhere that it’s prohibited (some parks don’t allow chalking).
- Turn a kiddie pool into alphabet soup. Parents can find sponge or floating letters that can be used as part of water play in small pools. Turn that portable kiddie pool into a fun alphabet soup. Sit in the pool with children and make words out of the floating letters; if children are struggling to identify letters, use this activity to help them learn. Don’t forget the sunscreen, and make sure children are always supervised near water.
- Visit story time events at bookstores or the library. Many public libraries offer free story time events for children. This is a great indoor summer activity during hot days that lets children listen to stories and socialize, too. Visit the library’s website to find out about children’s activities and story time events. Some events might offer crafts or other fun games and activities.
Listening to stories helps children to appreciate books, and library events also can help them get acquainted with their local library.
- Sign a child up for a library card. Even if the local library doesn’t offer a story time event, parents can take children to the library to sign up for their first library card. Then let children explore the children’s section and find a few books that they want to read.
- Take story time outdoors. Pitch a tent outdoors and create a fun reading environment for children. Parents can grab a flashlight and read to children outside and maybe camp in the backyard, too.
- Celebrate the Fourth of July with a book. Help younger children understand the importance of Independence Day by reading books about the Founding Fathers.
2022 Summer Reading List for First and Second Graders
Children who have finished or who are entering first or second grade are still navigating their literacy journey; they are learning to read but will soon begin to read to learn. Some second graders might be delving into short chapter books, but other children in first and second grade might just be reading smaller books.
During summer, parents can focus on fun enrichment activities and games that help children practice important literacy skills like fluency and comprehension; in addition, parents also can help children work on mastering common sight words.
- Take children on a new book hunt in thrift stores or used book sales hosted by libraries. Thrift stores often have low-cost books (sometimes less than $1) for families on a budget. Give children a spending limit and let them choose a few books for the summer that interest them.
- Create a summer journal. Writing can help children focus on sentence structure, spelling and how to put their thoughts into words. Encourage children to start a journal over the summer. Parents can purchase a spiral notebook and let children decorate it.
- Set summer reading goals. Some local libraries offer a summer reading program, but parents can start a family book club, too. At the beginning of the summer, help children set reading goals. Parents can create a reading passport, and when children read so many pages (or minutes), they might earn a prize. Parents can create their book club format in a way that works best for their children.
- Listen to audiobooks during family road trips. First and second graders probably still love story time. During long car trips, listen to a book on tape. Children can vote on the book they want to hear on the trip. See how many books the family can finish this summer.
- Play sight word games to practice these must-know words. During hot or rainy summer days, create card games to help children practice their sight words (work with the Dolch list). Parents can use standard index cards to create match games from sight words (make two of each card) or opt for Go Fish (make four cards for each sight word). These games are a fun way for children to learn and master their sight words. They might even get ahead for next year.
2022 Summer Reading Challenges for Third, Fourth and Fifth Graders
Children entering the upper grades of elementary school are reading to learn. In third grade, reading skills are still sharpened but are more focused on reading for learning. Many third graders will read short chapter books. By fourth and fifth grade, comprehension might focus on more complex skills beyond the standard w/h questions (who, what, where, when, why and how).
For older elementary-aged children, parents still need to make reading fun. However, reading for older children is often an independent journey. Some children might feel that they’ve outgrown listening to their parents read to them. However, every child is different and some might still love to hear a story read aloud.
- Encourage children to research books they want to read and have them create a summer reading list. Children can set their own book goals that they wish to accomplish this summer. For example, maybe they want to read two books in a series. Start the summer by having them write a list of their ‘must read’ books. Then go to the library and check out a few.
- Host a family ‘book and a movie’ monthly event. Everyone in the family can read the same book (choose a book that is appropriate for everyone) and then watch the movie adaptation. Talk about how the book differed from the movie. Parents might decide just to read the book aloud; this is a great way to make sure everyone is on the ‘same page.’ Plus, everyone in the family won’t have to hunt down a copy of the book. Check out this list of children’s books that have been adapted into movies.
- Have children write an ‘I Wonder’ list and then let children find the answers through books. An ‘I wonder…’ list focuses on the curious questions that each child might have about the world. Have children write down a list of five things that they wish to learn or know. Visit the library to find age-appropriate books that help them answer their questions.
- Create a summer journal. A summer journal is a great activity for younger and older children. Writing about summer experiences, vacations and daily life helps children practice their writing skills, sharpen their spelling and also document lasting memories.
- Participate in ‘read to an animal’ opportunities at local shelters. Some animal shelters offer programs where children can read to the animals. The purpose is to encourage reading. This can help children and the animals, too.
Use a Reading Program to Help Prevent the Summer Slide
Children of all ages can use Readability this summer to help ensure they don’t fall down the summer slide and start the next school year behind in their reading skills. Readability is designed for children in preschool through fifth grade.
Parents can set their child’s reading level on Readability or the program can help determine the best reading level. Children read stories aloud when they use the program; Readability also includes a built-in AI tutor that is programmed with voice-recognition software. The tutor learns each child’s voice; if a child struggles with a word, the tutor will provide help.
At the end of every book, the tutor also will ask questions to test a child’s understanding of the story. If a child answers a question incorrectly, the tutor will show the section of the story that provides clues about the answer and also will read this portion of the book aloud. Then the child will have another opportunity to answer the question.
Readability also encourages exploration throughout the reading journey. Children can tap any word in a book to hear the definition or hear it used in a sentence. Every book also has its own list of vocabulary words.
With Readability, parents can follow their child’s reading progress. The program offers parents a private portal that displays all their child’s reading data, including their reading level, comprehension, reading fluency (measured in words read per minute) and how long the child used the program.
This summer, keep children from falling down the summer slide by using Readability to ensure their reading fluency grows and their confidence soars. Sign up for a free seven-day trial today.