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The Reading Coach



Summertime Reading


We all know that summer reading is good for kids. Without it, experts say, reading skills can decrease. Encourage parents to include reading in their summer plans, and help them keep their kids reading by making summertime reading different from what they do at school.

Share with parents these "outside the box" ideas:

  • Fun Authors for Great Summertime Reading

    Jon Scieszka: The Time Warp Trio series, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (elementary)

    Tedd Arnold: Giant Children, and No Jumping on the Bed (author) and Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? (co-author) (elementary)

    Bruce Colville: My Teacher is an Alien, Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, and The Unicorn Chronicles series (upper elementary and middle school)

    Jaime Adoff: The Song Shoots Out of My Mouth: A Celebration of Music and Names Will Never Hurt Me (Teens)

    (Note: Grade levels are only a guide -- many of these books are great for any age.)
    Read about your vacation destination before you go.
  • Read about something you want to do together (hiking, planting a garden, working on motorcycles).
  • Turn off the TV and substitute one half hour of reading or a visit to the library.
  • Save your pennies (everyone empties change into a jar). When you save enough, stop by a local bookstore for a treat.
  • Put a reading reminder on your adult" calendar (but don't let the kids know!)
  • Read a book about local history and go to a museum.
  • Read a book that's now a movie, and then take them to see the movie!
  • Host a potluck mid-summer party at your house or a local park. Pull out a book or two to read in the shade after dinner, or tell stories around the campfire.
  • Use reading as a way to reconnect with your kids. Talking about a story is still one of the best ways to open doors that might be closed when schedules are hectic.

Teachers try this: Let kids choose two books to read with their families during the summer. At open house, when families visit the school, invite parents to take the Accelerated Reader or Scholastic Reading Counts test with their kids watching!

Virginia Meldrum, director of The Owls Tree "Authors in the Schools" program, says keep it simple. "Help parents tap into the joy, discovery and exploration of reading. The worst we can do is force children to read something." Her advice: Help parents understand how to make reading fun.

More About Summer Reading

On-line Resources for Parents
* Summer Reading Fun
* RIFs Summertime Resources for Parents
* 10 Kids Summer Reading Programs We Love

On-line Resources for Teachers
* Summer Reading and Learning from the National Council of Teachers of English
* Twenty-five Activities to Keep Kids Brains Active in the Hot Summer Sun
* Recommended Audio Books from Reading Rockets


About the Author

Known as the "Literacy Ambassador," Cathy Puett Miller has a library science degree from Florida State University. Her writing appears in such print publications as Atlanta Our Kids, Omaha Family, and Georgia Journal of Reading, and online at Literacy Connections, Education World, and BabyZone. Be sure to visit Cathy's Web site at Click to read a complete bio.