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10 Tips for Reducing the Summer Reading Slide

By: Evan Ortlieb
 | Jun 20, 2017

Summer SlideGetting students to read during the summer months can be a challenge. Our aim should not be to force them to read; it should be to develop their motivation to read. Voracious readers are almost always the highest performing achievers in school. Reading, like any other hobby, must be a year-round activity for optimal academic development and eventual career success. A number of strategies can be used to capitalize on students’ existing attitudes and interests and to promote summer reading:

  • Read together: Whether first-grade or 12th-grade, stop telling and start sharing literary experiences. Don’t feel bound to the child’s reading level, as listening comprehension is typically much higher in early years.
  • Encourage children to read what interests themfrom comic books to blogs and even drama: While wide reading is the goal, no one likes to read everything. Check out ILA’s Choices Reading Lists for book recommendations for children by children.
  • Consider their interests: For example, if the child is a sports enthusiast, suggest adventure, history, mystery, or other genres with an essence of action and competition.
  • Read challenging books: Often, children can understand books above their comprehension level if the material relates to their prior knowledge or experiences. Besides, with help, what challenge can’t be met?
  • Share your enthusiasm for reading: In general, we speak about what matters most to us. Talk to students about the books you read to inspire habitual reading (e.g., It was so inspirational to see how Chelsea left everything behind for a chance to perform on Broadway. I wish I had that confidence when I was 18 years old).
  • Link technology to reading: Apps and websites offer freely available e-books, words of the day, historical significant events on this day, and visual dictionaries.
  • Find an online community: More than eight million stories have been uploaded to FanFiction for reading, reviewing, and interacting with child and adolescent authors.
  • Engage in the arts: Music, art, and drama bring what we read to life.
  • Incentivize with learning opportunities: Read a book and go to a museum, read two books and go to a theatre production, and so on.
  • Subscribe to freely available e-newsletters written for children/adolescents: (e.g., Teen Ink and Clover).

Evan OrtliebEvan Ortlieb is a professor and coordinator of the Online PhD in Literacy in the Department of Education Specialties at St. John’s University in New York City. He is an internationally recognized leader in the field of literacy education with previous work experience in Singapore and Australia and whose expertise centers on literacy empowerment, literacy teacher preparation, language diversity, and differentiated literacy instruction. He currently serves as president of the Specialized Literacy Professionals (SIG) of the International Literacy Association, and section editor of Unlocking Literacy Learning within the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. He also serves as president of the Ortlieb Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides college scholarships for cancer patients.

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