“Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.” —Vera Nazarian.
Studies show students can lose one month of grade-level equivalent skills during summer break. Kids want to enjoy classroom freedom, and parents don’t want their child’s academic skills to pay a price. What can you do? Here are some overall suggestions to keep your student’s reading skills in place this summer. (Psssst! Don’t miss the new ones to the list: Wonderopolis and Sync. With a teen in the house, I’m super excited about Sync!)
There are local and some national reading programs to beat the summer blahs and avoid academic backslide. There are books for all ages: read aloud books; independent reading books; audio books; watching-the-movie-after-reading-the-book books; acting-out-the-story-in-your-own-living-room books; and so much more. There are free structured programs to challenge kids to read and earn prizes. For the DIY home, there are free downloadable kits with everything necessary for your own reading program. There are also paid academic programs to help improve reading. Something for everyone!
Free Local Summer Reading Programs:
For all ages, including adults, San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor’s summer reading begins June 1, 2016. Keep track of books read (or listened to) and earn a Summer Reading Certificate signed by the mayor AND a free paperback book.
Young children who aren’t reading on their own can participate in the Listeners Club. Independent readers may join the Readers Club. Listening to audio books counts, too. The sky is the limit! Regardless of your age, pull up your favorite chair, grab a glass of something cool, find a shady spot, and get busy filling out your reading log!
San Antonio’s Twig Book Shop’s free Spot On Summer Reading Program runs June–August for all ages. Every 10 books read earns a special reward. Entered participants will be entered into a weekly drawing for a $10 Twig Book Shop gift certificate. Get your reading recording sheet here. Be sure and join Miss Anastasia for the Spot On Reading Program Kick Off, June 4, at 10:30 A.M. Younger readers will love meeting Spot at this event! Check their calendar for other summer reading activities.
Read and record on this form (adult initialed) and mail in your completed form no later than October 1, 2016, to receive a special T-shirt and other prizes!
The Family Educators Alliance of South Texas sponsors a summer reading program for affiliated homeschool students along with public or private school students in Bexar county. This program, for students aged 5–18, runs from June 7th–August 4th. More information can be found here.
San Antonio NEISD’s (Northeast Independent School District) librarians created book lists with recommendations by grade with some suggested books for adults, too!
San Antonio College Office of Outreach and Recruitment offers a Wild About Reading Club on June 18th, July 16th, and August 13th from 10:30–11:30 A.M. for grades K–5. For more information, go here or contact the Coordinator of Student Services at (210) 486-0934 or email: email@example.com.
Free National Summer Reading Programs:
Lace up those running shoes and polish your reading spectacles to attend the kick-off party for the Triathlon Opening Ceremonies on Saturday, June 4th at a store near you. Free downloadable summer reading and activity kits available for educators/parents. Participants read at least eight books and fill out this reading journal. Take the completed journal to your nearest Barnes and Noble Booksellers to receive a free book. Barnes and Nobles also lists top picks by grade level for reading suggestions.
This year, readers can vote for their favorite literature hero: Gold, Silver, and Bronze medalist heroes. Download the ballot now!
Not to be outdone by Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Pizza Hut celebrates 30 years of reading programs. Maybe some of you mom and dads participated in their programs as a child.
The Book It! Beat the Summer Slide Reading Program offers many resources for kids, educators, and parents. They’re dedicated to helping students avoid sliding back on their academic skills this summer. I cannot do their summer program justice here. They have resources for students, teachers, parents, and more. There are recommendations for books to read, books to listen to, and books with movies to watch after reading the book. Check it out!
Once again, Half Price Books’ Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program is on for students through the 12th grade, from June 1st–July 31st. Students below 8th grade complete a reading log of at least 15 minutes of reading per day. Students in 8th grade and beyond read a book per month and write a review. Starting June 1st, older students’ reviews may also be submitted online. Bring in a student’s logs or reviews to your local Half Price Books store to receive Bookworm Bucks for Back to School. Half-Price Books also provides links and info for parents and students. Check out their Biggest Storytime of the Summer, June 5th at 2:00 P.M. at your local store.
The Book Adventure summer reading program is free and for grades K–8. They’ve got a pretty cool site and tons of information for students, parents, and teachers. Students can search for books, read them offline, come back to quiz on what they’ve read, and earn prizes for their reading success (parent monitored and approved, of course).
Understandably, this place is overstimulating for me in so many ways. Yet, more than one rainy day found our old playgroup congregating there. Chuck E. Cheese offers a simple program: read every day for two weeks, fill out the form, and get free tokens, to inspire kids who are Chuck E. Cheese token-motivated. There’s something for everyone, my friends.
Be a Reading Superhero with Scholastic’s summer reading challenge. It’s a free online reading program for children. Registration began May 9th and ends September 9th. Kids can log in, record minutes, and unlock rewards. Parents and educators can find resources, suggested book lists, and more. There is a lot of information for teachers as well. Most exciting is an interactive map showing how many minutes your school has logged.
Do you have a Junie B. Jones fan in your home? Check out this site for reading logs and activities.
For older students, ages 13–19 years, this contest encourages reading about current events, assimilating the information, and commenting on it. Beginning June 17th and ending August 19th, it’s a great program for the older kids. More details here.
I am excited about this one! With an auditory learner in our home, our learning utilizes podcasts, lots of NPR, reading aloud, and of course, audio books! Audio books are perfect for the teen or family on the go—and a great companion for those summer road trips or waiting in the car for little brother to finish swim lessons.
Got a teen in your home? Unplug the game box and plug in an audio book. Sponsored by Audio File Magazine, Sync GIVES away two current book selections in audiobook downloads every summer week from May 5th through August 17th. Available titles change every Thursday at 7:00 A.M. Their weekly feature pairs a current YA book with a classic book or commonly required summer reading title. Audiobooks are downloaded through the OverDrive app, which can be downloaded for free. Go here for more info.
This free online summer-learning Camp provides interactive STEM- and literacy-building topics boosted by Maker experiments. Promoting family time and learning through the summer, Camp Wonderopolis builds vocabulary, science, reading comprehension, critical thinking, and other skills. Kids of all ages can register for this free cyber camp along with their “camp counselors” (e.g., parents, guardians, community and library program staff, and/or teachers). Campers learn through wonder—an approach created and honed by the award-winning Wonderopolis.org! This year’s theme is Flex Your Wonder. This summer focuses on health and fitness, tapping into real world learning from the 2016 Olympics to nutrition and beyond. More than 300,000 campers—I mean, learners—from around world have explored Camp Wonderopolis. Camp Wonderopolis is sponsored by the National Center for Families Learning. If you’re looking for engaging, fun, interactive learning, check this out!
DIY Programs and Resources:
Does everyone end up at your house to cool off, eat Popsicles, or just hang out? Check out this PBS link as well as this one to start your own reading challenge. PBS did all the work for you—click, print, and voila! There are a billion and one ideas for summer reading on Pinterest—check it out, if you’re brave!
From edsnapshot.com, a homeschooling website by Pam Barnhill, comes everything you need to DIY your own summer reading program. From book suggestions, to activities and reading logs, the free download kit for Race Across Space Your includes your Space Map game board, two versions of a reading log, a fun reading bucket list, reward coupons, bookmarks, and a certificate of completion. You tailor rewards and book selections to your family’s needs.
RIF—Reading is Fundamental
Don’t forget the RIF—Reading Is Fundamental site for great resources and ideas to keep those summer skills sharp. Whatever you choose, reading is something we want our children to always enjoy and keep moving forward throughout the summer. Maybe your child isn’t the reader you’d like him or her to be. You’re never too old to listen to books, whether it’s via CD, iPod (we love audible.com), or especially, Mom or Dad reading aloud.
RIF celebrates it’s 50th birthday with 50 free eBooks available for downloading here. Families across the country can access 50 classic eBooks absolutely free; there are no advertisements or fees of any kind.
Some great reading-related links to check out:
Pinterest free printable bookmarks—take them along for little ones to color, use as encouragement to keep reading, or heck, print out one for yourself and never lose your page again!
Deliver summer reading tips to your phone!
Paid Academic Programs:
When it comes to summer and reading fun, what will your children be doing? Share your adventures in the comments.