Summer Reading Tips for Lower School Students

All students in grades 1-12 have required summer reading. Visit the Summer Reading and Work resource board tile in mySTEDS for more information about summer reading assignments, and below you will find helpful tips for choosing appropriate books, reading strategies and more:

Encourage your child to think about the kind of books they enjoy. If your child is going to read independently, the text should be one in which he/she can read 96% of the words accurately. Ask your child to open the book to any page and read the words.   If they get to more than one or two tricky words, that book should be read with your support.  If your child gets less than two tricky words the text is probably a “just right book”.

Before Reading:
Take a sneak peek! Look at the cover and the back, read the title and any blurbs inside the cover.  Look through the pages to get a sense of what the book might be about. Predict what might happen in the book or what you already know about the subject. Determine if the text is fiction or nonfiction. If the book is nonfiction how is it organized? 

During Reading: 
If you get to a “tricky” word use powerful prompts to help your child-
“Look at the word.” or “Keep your eyes on the letters.”  It is common for children to look at the picture, but even if they get the word right this is not a helpful strategy in the long run. We need to help readers connect letters in the word's spelling to sounds in the spoken word.

Slide through each sound. Similar to “sound it out” sliding through the sounds supports stretching sounds like “ffffffaaaannn” as opposed to “fuh aah n.”

Try a different sound. Trying a different vowel sound can be very helpful (e.g., most vs cost or metal vs. meter), because many single- and dual-vowel letters in English can represent more than one sound.

Break the word into parts.  A word like UPSET, for example, might be decoded by reading 'up' followed by 'set'.

After Reading:
Discuss the text with your child.
  • Have him/her retell the story.
  • Who were the main characters?
  • What was the problem and how did it get solved?
  • What surprised you in the story?
  • Does this book remind you of anything else you have read?
  • Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
  • If the book was nonfiction what are some things you learned about the topic? 
Reread the book again or part of the book again: This supports fluency. Ask your child to read it with a smooth voice, like they are talking. If there is dialogue or a "speech bubble" use a voice you think the character might have. 

The most important thing we can do to create strong readers is to value reading! Books need to be in the house. Kids need to see the adults in their lives reading. Read aloud to your children! Children need to hear fluent readers reading many different kinds of text. 

References: ASCD_WhenYoungReadersGetStuck_NellDuke.pdf