Reading is more than a great way to pass the time. It expands vocabulary, develops empathy, and improves analytical skills. Research has also shown that how much a child reads over the summer has a strong correlation to how much they retain from last year’s lessons—the more a child reads, the less of a “summer slide” they experience.
But how can teachers motivate students to read over the summer? Even if students love reading, not all are lucky enough to have tons of books in their home or a library within walking distance. And getting students to want to read can be a challenge itself.
Here are some tips to get students motivated to read on their own all summer long:
Introduce a Book Series
It’s great when a child loves any book, but series can be especially great for encouraging students to read more, beyond the one story. Each time they finish a book, there is a clear next step to keep them reading.
Let Students Borrow from the School
For some students, the biggest hurdle to reading is access to books. This is especially true for socioeconomically disadvantaged students who suffer most from “summer slide.” Simply providing access to books they can hold onto and read over the summer can be one of the best ways teachers can encourage students to read.
Start a Facebook Page or Blog
Highlight age-appropriate books students will enjoy, and get them to share what they’re reading, too. This can helps students find good stories to check out even when they’re out of school, and the social factor can help them keep it up over time.
Read Book Excerpts to the Class
Select exciting passages from age-appropriate books, and read them out loud to the class with dramatic flair to entice them. Leave the book out during free times later, and be ready to lend copies to interested students.
Model Good Reading Behaviors
During class quiet times, show students that you love to read by modeling the behavior for them—simply pick up a great book and read it where they can see you. Tell them how interesting it is, and how you can’t wait to read more later.
Encourage them to Read What they Love
All kinds of reading counts when it comes to stimulating the mind. Support student reading in all its forms, whether its novels, comics, magazines, or something else entirely.
Encourage All Opinions
Ask students whether or not they liked a book, and respect their answer—no one likes everything! Even better, ask them why they don’t like the book, and get them to engage their critical thinking and express their thoughts.
Promote a Summer Reading Challenge
Tell students about summer reading activities at the local library or other challenges like the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, and encourage them to participate.
Reward Good Habits
Before students leave for summer vacation, get them as prepared to read over the summer as possible. Then tell them if they can meet a designated reading goal and come show their progress in September, there will be a special reward for them. Some fun pencils or other small prizes can go a long way to incentivize and reinforce good reading habits!
Good Summer Reading Habits Start in Fall
A passion for reading doesn’t just appear in June when school lets out—it’s got to be fostered throughout the school year.
The more teachers work with their students to develop a habit of reading for fun in fall, winter, and spring, the more likely these students will be to seek out and take advantage of opportunities to read over the summer.