May 24, 2012 by Norene Wiesen

Summer reading

It’s that time again. The end of the school year is rapidly approaching, and everyone is thinking about summer—especially students. It can be hard enough to get students to read within the structure of the academic year, so how can you encourage your students to read during the summer break?  Here are some things to try:

  1. Let students know that all kinds of reading count – graphic novels, magazine articles, websites, and ebooks on mobile devices – and that they should read what they enjoy.
  2. Talk about a book that you absolutely loved or that changed your life in some way.
  3. Ask students to bring books they liked into class, along with a note card explaining why.  Display the books and cards around the classroom so students can browse.
  4. Sponsor a class-wide or school-wide book swap.
  5. Provide URLs to online reading lists at websites like and
  6. Have each student put together a personal reading list of four or five titles to complete over the summer.
  7. Find something good to say about any book on a student’s reading list. Never say a book is bad, wrong, too hard or too easy.
  8. Have students compile their individual reading lists into a class reading list and post to the school website.
  9. Create your own summer reading list and post it for your students to see.
  10. Talk to your class about why people read – e.g., acquiring historical knowledge, entertainment, learning about other people’s experiences and perspectives.  Ask them what they like about reading.
  11. If you have a classroom blog or wiki, post thought-provoking passages from books along with the book title and author.
  12. Keep your class blog or wiki available to students over the summer so they can share their reactions to books they’re reading.  Don’t forget to add updates about your own reading.
  13. Show students how to keep a reading journal, and discuss how keeping one might help students decide what to read next.
  14. Communicate with parents about the importance of setting expectations for reading every day.
  15. Encourage every family to get and use a library card.
  16. Let students know what your local public library has planned for summer.
  17. Give students access to the online Reading Assistant program at school or home for extra guided oral reading practice to help build fluency.
  18. Let students know that reading will actually make their brains work better.

Related Reading:

Antidotes to Summer Brain Drain (Part 1): Tips and Tools for Fun Math Skills Practice

Antidotes to Summer Brain Drain (Part 2): 5 Ways to Pull the Plug on Learning Loss

Categories: Reading & Learning