Encouraging Summer Reading

Every student from K through 12 will have a summer reading list. Some kids are thrilled at the thought of sitting by the window sill reading the day away in their imagination while many throw books aside to run around outdoors and enjoy the summer climate – perhaps your child doesn’t read because he/she finds it difficult; in that case, you need an Orange County private reading tutor. Assuming that your child falls into the latter category, it is important to find ways to make reading enjoyable or at least get the reading list as well as any assigned book reports done and out of the way before school starts up again in late August. Remember, reading leads to better writing (READ: “Five Books to Help You Write Well“).


1. Make reading fun

Once reading becomes a chore it will always be viewed as a chore. If the books on the summer reading list are not to your child’s liking, let them first choose from a list of books or publications that they do enjoy. It can be silly or for pure entertainment value because the point is to encourage the act of reading. After your kid reads a few books ‘just for fun’, sneak in the books on the reading list. You don’t even have to tell them it’s for school. Just put the book on their bed or desk and tell them to try it (READ: “100 Great Children’s Books“)

2. Set a structure

If reading simply isn’t fun for your child, then it ends up on the ‘to do’ list and must be completed just as any chore would be. No one enjoys brushing their teeth or taking a bath but we do it every day. Pick a certain time of day-after dinner but before bed works for many people-and set the alarm for 30 minutes. Once it becomes a bedtime routine, your kid is more likely to accept it as part of their everyday summer routine (READ: “5 Fun Projects to Get Your Kid Interested in Math“.

3. Set up a rewards system

I have yet to meet a student that didn’t like watching TV. Many kids watch TV after dinner or when mom or dad are cooking. Reading can be encouraged by using TV as the reward. Once a chapter is finished (or after 30 minutes are up), the book can be closed and the TV can come on. It will probably be a battle in the beginning but after a while the temptation of evening cartoons will likely take over.


4. Make a star chart

For every book your kid reads give them a big metallic star sticker on the star chart. You can even make the star chart a fun family art project. Once they get to 10 books (10 stars) they can work towards a new toy, a dessert that isn’t generally allowed or something special that is appropriate for your family. If your child is a bit resistant or if 10 books is way out of the range of a reasonable goal. Try replacing 10 books with 10 chapters and offer a smaller reward.

5. Set an example

Reading your favorite eBook, the newspaper or a good old fashioned novel in front you’re your kid will let them know that it is important and part of adult life. Kids always seem to want to be older; they want to reach their next birthday as soon as the most recent one has passed and they look up to adults. If leisure reading is part of the family tradition, children are more likely to pick it up.

If you have tried these things and it simply isn’t working, there may be an academic element. If the act of reading is overly mentally fatiguing or if the words simply don’t make sense, then the idea of reading all summer is simply overwhelming for a younger child. At this point, consider calling in a tutor. Once those academic issues are squared away, that summer reading list will be no problem. Also, summer is a great time to work on reading skills because there aren’t a lot of other academics going on. Plus, excellent reading comprehension skills will help with all subjects and make the school year a lot less stressful for parent and child alike.

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