Summer Skills: Keeping Students Engaged in Summer Reading

August 14, 2019 by Jeff Hersh


Summer vacation for many students is a time for play, part-time jobs, summer camp, and family trips – all positive ways to spend the break from school. Summer can also mean a lack of structure, which for many students doesn’t translate to time focused on improving skills for the following school year.


A common assignment for students of all ages is to read over the break. Schools often have reading lists and an assigned book for students to read before the start of the following year.  But this is only a start; students have to take the time and put it into reading.

Parents and educators alike don’t want to discover students have spent the entire summer with their eyes locked on screens and social media.


How can you help students open up books for a summer of reading?




Set aside an hour a day for reading. This is a time to unplug and sit with the book. Perhaps the student won’t use the full hour, but keeping the habit will ensure that reading happens.




Students will be more likely to read if they know it will lead to a prize or gift. It can be as simple as read for an hour and then they are allowed to go online. For every book they finish, treat them to a trip to the movies. Whatever tactics used to ensure students do their homework during the school year can be reapplied towards summer reading goals.




Construct a graph that allows students to see their progress as they complete book after book. The graph can provide daily updates such as how many pages read, or how many chapters completed. This gives them incentive to read and also celebrates their success and makes them proud of what they’ve accomplished.




When it’s time to drop everything and read, join the student with your own book. Help foster a reading community in your home and show them that reading isn’t just for their school years, it’s a hobby they can enjoy their whole lives. It helps parents connect with their children and creates a shared sense of reading accomplishments.

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