What is the Best Summer Reading Skills Program?

June 9, 2023

Summer Reading Skills Program

For children, Memorial Day might mean that summer vacation is here or nearly here. Many schools around the country dismiss classes for months during the summer break. The long vacation might be relaxing but it’s also a time when kids are at risk for losing reading gains (and math gains, too). To keep kids from slipping down the ‘summer slide,’ parents might research different reading programs to help them practice their reading skills.

What is the best summer reading skills program? Each city might offer programs through their local library to encourage children to read during summer and schools could offer programs, too. We’ve rounded up tips on how to find the best summer reading skills program and keep kids from losing reading gains.

Summer Reading Skills Program

Summer Reading Program Tip: Visit the Local Library In-Person or Online

Public libraries are a wonderful reading resource for children and adults! The biggest benefit of joining the local library is that it’s free; local libraries are supported by tax dollars. However, library members can accrue late fees if they don’t return materials on time.

Libraries also host reading programs during the summer. These programs are designed to encourage children (and adults!) to read during the long and lazy summer. Every library might design their program a bit differently. Some library summer reading programs provide prizes to children when they reach certain reading milestones. These milestones might correlate to the number of reading minutes, the number of books read or the number of pages read.

Parents can discover the summer reading programs offered by their local library by visiting the library’s website or visiting the library in-person. Some libraries link their enrollment for summer reading programs online, too.

When parents are researching the reading programs offered by their library, they also can check out the other activities and events their library hosts during the summer. Libraries might offer storytime events for children, author meet and greets or clubs and other activities.

Summer Reading Programs: Reach Out to the School

School districts might offer reading programs for children during the summer. However, programs might be limited to children who are reading below grade-level benchmarks or who are eligible for reading enrichment programs at the school.

Some districts might sponsor reading programs for all children, though. These programs could be designed like library reading programs where children are encouraged to reach specific reading milestones. Schools also could offer tutoring or other reading support services.

To understand the programs offered by the school or district, parents might reach out to their child’s teacher or school administration before the end of the year.

How to Create an Online Reading Programs for the Summer

Not all families live close to a local library. Some children also might not have access to reading programs or enrichment opportunities through their school. Parents don’t have to focus on trying to find formal reading programs to encourage them to keep reading during the summer and brush up on their skills. Parents can create a unique reading program that is designed for their child and that motivates the entire family to read during the summer months.

Create a family book club. Parents can gather children together and discuss books they would like to read. A family book club allows everyone to read the same book and discuss it as they read. However, when creating a family book club, parents should choose a book title that is at everyone’s level. This means that parents might read books that are written for younger children.

Book clubs are ideal for families with older children who might be tackling chapter books. Parents might focus on a book club that encourages the whole family to read a series of books over the summer months. There is no wrong way to design a family reading program or book club. However, encourage children to talk about the book. When helping children who struggle with comprehension, ask them the w/questions (who, what, where, when, why and how). Children can use visual aids like reading comprehension bookmarks and graphic organizers to help them focus on elements of the story as they read.

Comprehension bookmarks include prompts that remind children what they need to think about as they read. Graphic organizers are worksheets with sections for children to write details of the book. The focus of both tools is to prompt children to think as they read and to ask questions, too.

Start a Reading Challenge

Families also can create reading challenges for the summer. Reading challenges can be based on hitting specific reading milestones related to the number of pages read, the number of books read or reading minutes. Parents might award prizes or offer extra privileges to celebrate when children meet their goals and milestones. Families could set a family goal, too.

Theme the Reading Program

Creating a themed reading program also adds a unique touch to the typical book club or program. When parents are focused on motivating their child to read during summer, they might decide to set a theme for the books children choose each week.

Parents can choose whatever reading theme they want for each week. For example, the week before Fourth of July, parents might encourage children to choose books about the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers and other patriotic topics. Parents preparing their children for a family trip to another state or country could focus on books about the sites they plan to see, the trends, foods and history of the country or other topics related to the trip and destination.

Summer Reading Skills Program

Tips for a Fun and Relaxed Club or Reading Program

Summer is the time to relax and have fun. Some children don’t naturally gravitate to reading books in their leisure time, while others can’t stop reading. For parents of children who don’t love opening a book, encouraging them to read during their summer vacation could be a challenge.

To keep the family book club or reading program a bit more relaxed and fun, encourage children to choose their own books and reading materials. Even if the family is reading the same book for a family book club, let children vote on the books they want to read.

Don’t focus on reading minutes by using a timer. Instead, try to gather the family for a group reading time. Some children also might respond positively when they are rewarded for reading; however, reading should be its own reward.

For children who are resistant, parents could use audiobooks as a supportive resource. Children could listen to audiobooks and follow along in the book as they listen. Parents also could encourage children to read alternative materials; after all, comic books, graphic novels, newspapers and magazines help children enjoy reading, too.

For Children Who Have Reading Struggles, a Reading App Could Help

Some children end the school year behind their peers in reading proficiency; children who struggle to read might fail to hit expected reading benchmarks. Parents can continue to work with children during the summer to help them make additional reading gains.

Readability is a reading app that is designed for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. The program can help children improve their reading fluency and increase their comprehension mastery, too. Children start the program one reading level below their current level to help them feel more confident and comfortable.

To help guide lessons, Readability includes a built-in AI tutor. Children have access to a library of fiction of nonfiction books at every reading level in the program; children read these books aloud. As the child reads, the tutor is measuring their reading fluency (measured in words per minute) and is listening for inflections in their voice that alerts the tutor that the child is struggling. Like an in-person tutor, the AI tutor offers help, encouragement and feedback. At the end of each book, the tutor also leads a comprehension quiz to better understand the child’s mastery of what they read.

Parents can follow their child’s reading progress during the summer via a private portal on the program. This portal shows parents their child’s current reading level, their reading fluency, and the child’s comprehension mastery. Parents also can see how long their child used the program.

Readability offers parents and families an affordable option for reading tutoring and enrichment during the summer. Children can use Readability to gain fluency, boost their comprehension and help them to maintain the reading gains they acquired during the previous school year. Parents who are interested in exploring Readability with their child can sign up for a free seven-day trial period today!