How to Improve Your Child's Reading Skills Over the Summer

A routine is key to reinforcing skills outside the classroom.
Jul 06, 2022

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How to Improve Your Child's Reading Skills Over the Summer

Jul 06, 2022

It’s possible to enjoy a relaxing summer while still making sure your child is immersed in a learning environment. Although the classroom is your child’s main learning hub, you can bring those same interactions and experiences into your home, on the road — or wherever summer finds you and your family.

Setting aside time to read every day for 30 minutes, whether in the morning, midday, or at night, should be a top priority. One of the advantages of summer is the freedom children have to design their days. Use this flexibility to find ideal times in which your child is happy to pick up a book.

Giving children the space and independence to read leisurely without oversight is just as important, adds Karen Baicker, executive director of the Yale Child Study Center–Scholastic Collaborative for Child & Family Resilience, and publisher for Family and Community Engagement (FACE) at Scholastic Education Solutions.

“Summer allows children a chance to reset and not feel evaluated, so be wary of measurement,” she says.

Still, you want to keep your child’s reading skills fresh. Here are ways to ensure your child continues working on their building their literacy when school is out.

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At the table:

Summer hours mean more time spent lingering over meals and at outdoor gatherings (family reunions!). These are great opportunities to strike up a conversation with your child about what they learned in the last school year and what they’re excited about in the year to come.

Gauge your child’s interests by asking what they’re reading and what they like about it — this could be the characters, setting, or even the format of a book (many striving readers are drawn to graphic novels, for example). Challenge their reading comprehension by asking what’s happened so far.

Word-based board games, like Scrabble, are another opportunity to exercise skills (in this case, spelling) while engaging the whole family. If your child is interested in crosswords, there are many outlets that offer a new puzzle every day — an excellent brainteaser option if you’re keen to introduce a routine. 

In the car:

Car trips present a great opportunity for getting some pages in, and for you to ask follow-up questions afterward. If your child is unable to read in the car, choose audiobooks that everyone can listen to and discuss as a family. 

You can also read aloud to your car crew (since there’s no age cutoff for being read to). The idea is to encourage everyone to put down the screens and use this passive time to engage reading skills.

By the pool or at the beach:

Setting a reading goal can motivate children who are easily distracted in the summer. This goal might be measured in the number of books read per month or by the end of the season. (If your child’s school has issued a required summer reading list, start here.) Your child will get a boost of confidence and pride as they work toward their target.

To encourage your child on their summer reading journey, give their designated reading space a refresh: Change up the colors, art, or lighting for a brighter, airier vibe, or take it outdoors entirely in the form of a fort, hammock, or poolside lounger. 

Have your child collect words they don’t know or find interesting in a journal — you can look these words up together later. Journaling boosts many skills, including problem-solving and critical thinking. Recording and researching words is an expert-approved technique for improving vocabulary

Sometimes words are too good to keep on the page. If you’re at the beach, have your child write their favorite words in the sand. You’ll be practicing spelling and pronunciation skills together while making lasting memories — at least until high tide.

Keep your child reading over the summer with expert tips (like how to get your child to read) and book recommendations with our summer reading guide

Shop books below for improving reading skills! You can shop all books and activities at The Scholastic Store.

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