Homeschool Summer Reading Activities and Strategies

June 6, 2023

Homeschool Summer Reading

Parents who homeschool their children have a common concern as those who send their children to public or private schools. If children don’t continue homeschool lessons during the long summer break, they may lose the gains they acquired in reading or math. This fallback trend is known as the summer slide.

To keep children moving forward in their reading skills, parents need to encourage them to read during the summer. Some children naturally gravitate to reading for fun, but others would rather spend their summer doing other activities. These homeschool summer reading activities and strategies should keep children engaged and excited to read.  

What are the Benefits of Summer Reading for Homeschoolers?

Whether children attend an in-person school, learn virtually or are homeschooled, they still can fall behind in their reading gains during a long summer break if they don’t read during their long hiatus. Not only can reading during the summer help children avoid the summer slide, but some children might even accelerate their reading abilities during break.

Children read at different speeds, and reading growth could vary, too. However, if children are voracious readers during the summer, they might increase their fluency, comprehension and overall reading proficiency. This summer reading could bump them up a few reading levels, too.

How Do I Choose Age-Appropriate Summer Reading Materials?

Parents who homeschool their children might wonder about their child’s current reading level and how to find age-appropriate reading materials. While a child might have the ability to read and comprehend a higher-level book, the content of that book or the subject matter might be too mature for the child.

There are different ways that parents can learn more about the content of a book and whether or not it’s appropriate for their child. A quick search on Google or another search engine can lead parents to sites that provide readers’ feedback about the book and additional information about the plot, too.

While Accelerated Reader provides a Book Finder tool for parents to use to better understand book level (or reading levels of the book), this resource also includes a bit of detail about the book. Parents also can ask other homeschool families about book recommendations; in fact, homeschool families might even start a book club to encourage children to read over the summer and keep in contact with friends.

Homeschool Summer Reading

What are Some Strategies for Encouraging My Child to Read During the Summer?

Not all children are excited to delve into a book during their summer break. Again, though, it’s important that children continue to read during summer to ensure that they don’t lose reading gains or even fall further behind. 

If children don’t love to read, parents can use different strategies to build excitement around books and stories. Take children to the library and let them explore the different titles; if children don’t have a library card, this could be a great opportunity to let them have their own card to checkout materials (parents are responsible for any accrued fees).

Freedom of book choice helps children feel empowered as they navigate their reading adventure. Parents might feel a pull to assign books to their child, but pushing book titles on a child might make them more resistant to embark on summer reading. Encourage children to choose appropriate books at their reading level, but give them the choice to select the books they want to read.

Some children might not know what books interest them. Before visiting the library, encourage them to create a reading interest list. On this list, tell children to write down all the topics, celebrities, historic figures, places, hobbies, sports, etc. that they would like to explore and discover. At the library, parents can help children find the books that match their interests.

Are There Any Free Summer Reading Programs for Homeschoolers?

The best free summer reading programs for homeschoolers and other students are likely hosted by local library branches. To encourage children to read during the summer break, many local libraries sponsor reading programs. These programs might include prizes for participants when they hit certain reading goals or book milestones.

Parents can visit the website for their local library to learn more about free summer reading programs and other activities and events sponsored by the library during the summer. Some libraries offer storytime events for younger children, arts and crafts activities or even movie events or author meet and greets.

What are Some Recommended Summer Reading Books for Homeschoolers?

Every child has their own unique interests that might inspire the books to which they gravitate. There are many books that become staple reads among certain grade-levels or ages; for example, Judy Blume’s stories about the Hatcher family are beloved by elementary students. Some children love science fiction novels, and others choose graphic novels.

If parents are looking for book recommendations, they also could ask other homeschool families. Libraries also post recommendations for favorite books. There also are many websites that offer a roundup of book recommendations for different age groups. Common Sense Media published a list of 50 books that the site recommends for all children (before the age of 12).

Homeschool Summer Reading

How can I Incorporate Summer Reading into My Homeschooling Curriculum?

Not all homeschooling families take a break in lessons during the summer. For those who are continuing lessons during the summer season, there are many opportunities for incorporating summer reading into the curriculum.

Create a summer book list for children to tackle as part of their summer curriculum. Book titles might focus on the Revolutionary War (for older children) or on summer weather (for science curriculum). The summer reading list also could introduce children to a series of books; summer reading might navigate the entire series and lessons might be focused on the series, too.

Some families might use summer to focus on books that are critically-acclaimed and considered examples of the great American novel. Students might read “The Outsiders,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” or “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”

Other homeschool families might let their child take the lead on summer reading and navigate their own reading journey for the summer.

Alternative Reading Materials

For parents who aren’t continuing homeschool curriculum during the summer and who plan to give their child the summer off, regular reading can help ensure that children don’t fall down the summer slide and lose reading gains. Some children don’t love reading; they might struggle with reading or they might not have discovered a genre or author that resonates with them.

All reading can be beneficial. If children love reading the newspaper, a magazine or even comic books, encourage them to read. Comic books are woven into intricate story lines and some children love that these stories are illustrated. Graphic novels also include narrated illustrations; children could find that the plots of these books are easier to follow or just more fun to read.

Children also could benefit from listening to stories as they read. Some children are auditory learners and listening to audiobooks while following along in a bound book might help them better understand the story and identify with the characters.

When homeschool lessons wrap up for the year, parents should have a plan in place that encourages children to keep reading during the summer. Schedule a trip to the library to explore all the different book titles, have children make an interest list, and research reading programs and activities at local libraries that can create excitement around summer reading.