How to Start a Reading Program for Kids This Summer

July 16, 2020

How to Start a Reading Program for Kids This Summer

The summer slide is real, and it can cause children to make up for lost learning once school resumes in the fall. Some parents may be pressed for time because of work and other obligations and might not be able to sit down with children to focus on enrichment activities.

One of the easiest habits that parents can adopt, though, is reading with children. This summer, start a reading program for kids (or the entire family) to keep children from falling down the summer slide and losing literacy skills during the long break.

How Can Parents Start a Summer Reading Program for Kids?

Relax! Starting a summer reading program for kids isn’t difficult, and parents don’t have to have any sort of degree or background in reading to begin an at-home summer reading program. The goal is to create a fun reading environment for kids, and the only experience that parents must have is…imagination!

Parents can get a little bit of help from the local library; many libraries offer summer reading programs that offer incentives to keep kids reading during the long summer vacation. Parents can use these free programs as a way to encourage kids to pick up a favorite book.

What if the library doesn’t offer a program? Start your own. Parents can set a reading goal for kids and offer incentives when children hit reading milestones (this is how some library programs are structured). Parents can theme their program creatively to make it more fun for kids to track minutes or pages. Some themes include:

  • A Race to Read (track reading ‘mileage’ in pages or minutes…cars and a speedway are great for illustrations)
  • Pot of Reading Gold (color a coin for every 20 minutes/pages…use rainbows and leprechauns for the chart)
  • Beach Reads (use shells and sea life as illustrations to track minutes)
  • Set Sail with a Book (sailboats and nautical illustrations…have your child color an anchor for every 20 minutes/pages)

What Incentives Can Parents Offer?

A reading program doesn’t have to require a financial investment. Many parents are pressed on the monthly budget and might not have the financial means to go out and buy prizes for kids. Instead, offer other rewards like extra screen time, a later bedtime, a chore-free day or come up with other fun and unique incentives for kids.

What Should Kids Read?

Let kids read books that interest them. A summer reading program shouldn’t feel like an assignment. Let kids choose picture books, magazines or comic books…or whatever they wish to read. Yes, it’s ok to let them read books at a lower level (within reason, of course!). Don’t put heavy pressure on children; let them lead their summer reading journey.

Can parents read to kids? Yes! If a child chooses to read a book that may be beyond their level, parents can read aloud. Just be sure to ask questions about the story as the plot progresses; it’s important to gauge a child’s understanding.

How to Start a Reading Program for Kids This Summer

How Can Parents Find Age-Appropriate Books?

Not sure what a child should read? There are many resources for parents to find age-appropriate books for kids. Renaissance Accelerated Reader Bookfinder™ is a great resource for parents to understand the grade-level of a specific book; just search titles on the site.

However, parents also can research specific books online, too. Some books may be the right grade-level for kids but may still be too mature. Parents may not want their child to read a book that has themes that could be beyond a child’s emotional understanding; research the book online to be sure it’s a good fit.

How Long Should Kids Read Each Day?

During the school year, many kids clocked 20 minutes of reading every day. During the summer, parents may decide to ease up on this recommendation. However, consistent reading is beneficial to ensure kids don’t fall behind. Look at reading minutes as an average; if a child reads two hours one night and takes a break for a few days, the minutes will likely even out over the span of a week.

When a child is engrossed in a book, they may read for a long period of time. Adults do this, too. It’s common to get lost in a book only to realize that several hours have passed.

What if a Child Needs Additional Help with Reading?

A laid-back summer reading program for kids encourages reading during the summer break. Kids may need additional help, though, with phonics or comprehension. Parents can use a reading program like Readability to provide enrichment and literacy help during summer.

Readability offers an AI tutor that is designed with voice-recognition software. This built-in tutor recognizes a child’s voice and can provide help when a child stumbles on a word or struggles with a passage. The tutor also asks questions about the story to test comprehension.

Parents can check a child’s reading progress through the Parent Dashboard; this provides information on the child’s reading level and also details how long they engaged with the lessons. Many reading programs are an investment, and parents should feel comfortable that the money they spend will be beneficial to their child’s needs. Readability offers a free seven day trial to provide parents with the opportunity to review the app’s features and make sure it’s right for their child.

Ready to try Readability? Start a free trial today!