Girl reading a book

Will your students have six minutes available in their day over the summer? You have likely seen the research done by Renaissance, that the difference between proficient and struggling readers is six extra minutes of reading a day.

While that is an average difference, all of that additional reading adds up. Over time, reading increases a student’s vocabulary, comprehension, language skills, attention, and creativity. Combined, these skills are crucial for children to be successful.

Renaissance also points out that students who do not read at grade level typically read less than 15 minutes per day. Outside of specific learning or reading disabilities, this daily lack of reading causes a gap and inequity.

Those six additional minutes of reading per day make a difference for children. Their ability to read fluently and comprehend what they read determines whether a child receives reading intervention, graduates on schedule, and attends college.

Encouraging families to read anywhere and anytime

Finding the time, and even the place, for families to read every day can be a unique challenge, especially over the summer when routines are interrupted by vacations and other activities. Encouraging parents and caregivers to plan for this will benefit your students in the long run.

Acclaimed author Stephen King reminds us that physical books are the answer. He is known for saying that “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” Books can go wherever we go, making it easy for our children to read anywhere, at any time, with anyone.

When school is out, summer becomes the perfect time for students to continue building reading habits. In 20 or more minutes a day, families can carve out reading in some fun and creative ways:

  • Pack books in the beach or pool bag. After swimming, everyone can take some time to relax and read.
  • Play audiobooks in the car to create shared family reading experiences.
  • Reading aloud at bedtime. Reading aloud doesn’t have to be a picture book either. Chapter books are also perfect for building a love of reading and generating all of those great outcomes. According to Neuman, S. B., Copple, C., & Bredekamp, S., 2000, “reading aloud is foundational to becoming a successful reader.”
  • The entire family gathers in a room, reads their own books, and shares their thoughts. According to Kim, 2006, “family involvement in reading can improve a student’s literacy skills over the summer.”
  • Participate in summer reading programs. According to Roman, Carran & Fiore, 2010, “participation in summer reading programs results in higher academic achievement.”

It’s easier than ever

Summer reading challenges and programs typically have a theme that gets students excited about reading. Students usually set a goal to read a particular number of books or pages. They then record the books they have read and turn in their logs to get recognized for their reading efforts.

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Summer reading programs create shared experiences with the family, school, and larger community. At the same time, they get students excited about reading. Generating excitement around books encourages children to read more. Children and families can find summer reading challenges in a variety of places. Local libraries, nonprofits like Reading Is Fundamental, and many ed-tech companies all host summer reading programs or challenges.

It is now easier than ever for families—even over the summer—to build upon the foundation of creating lifelong readers that you started in your classrooms.