Wednesday, 4 June 2014

How To Keep Kids Reading Over the Summer

The biggest lesson I have learnt from teaching my daughter to read, is that daily practice is essential.

So the long summer break can set kids back months & months if they're don't read everyday.

And with all the fun freedom of summer to tempt them it can be hard to get kids to sit down and practice their reading for the 20 to 30 minutes a day they really need.

But there are some really simple ways you can keep kids reading daily over the summer ...

... and craving more ...

1. Play Run Around Reading Games Outdoors 

Kids need to be be on the move, specially in the summer.

But they can practice reading whilst they're running around.

These 10 fun games will keep them moving & reading at the same time ... and you can easily adapt them for whatever stage your children are at ... e.g. recognising letters, identifying sounds in words, remembering sight words or expanding vocabulary ...

  • Sponge Word Splash ... chalk letters or words on a wall or sidewalk then each player calls one out and tries to hit it with a soapy wet sponge ...
  • Water Spray Target ...  as above but arm everyone with water spray bottles or water guns and get them to try and hit their selected target with the water ..
  • Paper Chase ... head into the park and running slightly ahead of the kids ... but obviously still in good sight ... leave a trail of words for them to find & pick up 
  • Scavenger Hunt ... hide word or picture cards ... in the garden or the park & get everyone to go looking, each child has to read each one they find
  • Bean Bag Throw ... chalk words in circles & try to hit them with a bean bag
  • Word Shy ... write words on stickers ... chalkboard stickers great for this ... on empty cans  and set up spread out on a box ... pick a word & try to hit it with a ball
  • Twister ... chalk letters or words on the yard or sidewalk ... play just like ordinary twister with you calling out what they should touch .. 
  • Reading Race ... chalk 5 or so words or letters in circles on a path in the park ... get the children to stand in a row 20 metres away ... when you call out a word they all run and find it and try not to be last into the circle 
  • Sand Pit Sort ... hide letters, words or objects in the sand pit and get them to dig them up and sort them into buckets in some way when they find them  e.g. As, words beginning with A, objects starting with A ...
  • Fizzy Letters ... chalk words on yard, sprinkle a line of baking soda (bicarb) on the words & then get them to spray along the words with a spray bottle filled with vinegar & food colouring ... and watch it fizz ... just make sure you explain before hand not to spray each other with the vinegar

2. Read Stories in the Park

The absolute best motivation for kids to want to read is hearing great stories ... and listening to stories every day builds their vocabulary & understanding of sentence structure & grammar.

Stories in bed are sacred in our house but there's no reason day time reading has to be inside.

On a hot day take a blanket, a couple of cushions, hats & plenty to drink to the park, find a nice tree and just sit and read together.

Summer's actually a great chance to read more than you would in term time.

3. Take Books Wherever You Go

We read books in all sorts of funny places ... at the bus stop, on the bus, in queues.

You don't want to force reading on kids when they're not in the mood but if they're motivated by an exciting story or because they just made a big reading breakthrough, exploit it.

If you always carry a book you can squeeze alot of practice into 5 minutes here & there.

4. Go to the Library Once a Week 

A weekly trip to the library is a great way to build routine into the summer.

Use the library to get out both reading & story books and factual books that can support nature projects or trips to museums.

If your library has internet access to the catalogue, it's worth looking for specific books you know your kids will love and reserving a few.

5. Make It Social

Great stories are the source of great imaginative play ... we've lived and breathed Harry Potter the last few months! ... and it's so much more fun if your friends have read the same books.

To get everyone on the same page ... sorry ;-) ..

  • Arrange play dates to the library. 
  • Invite friends along to the park to read.
  • Encourage book swaps between friends

6. Sign Up for an Online Reading Programme

I do try to put together as many reading activities of my own as I can, but as a busy mum our online subscription to Reading Eggs has been invaluable.

We spend about 15 minutes on it every day and it has brought my daughter's reading on in leaps and bounds and helped me understand phonics & blending so I can help her sound out.

It's not cheap ... about £40/$60 for a year ... but there is a free trial and you can usually get a discount. I paid £30/$45 which is less than 10p a day as we're using it daily.

If you're looking for a programme, I would also check out ABC Mouse & Agnitus.

What about you? What are your favourite learn to read tips? Do share below ...  

P.S. If you're looking for more learn to read advice do check out the other posts in this series ... and if you're looking more fun play and learning ideas do sign up for my monthly learning through player mailer ...


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  1. This is such a fantastic idea.
    Summer reading outside sounds like a fantastic idea. I love it.

    Keep in Touch(ed),

    1. We had a lovely sunny weekend here in London and read Harry Potter in the park which was such fun - Alice

  2. Great list of reading ideas. I pinned it to my Summer Reading Program board. I know our participants will love this!

    1. Thanks so much for pinning Pam - really appreciated, Alice

  3. I think taking books with you wherever you go is a brilliant idea!! :)
    x Crystelle
    Crystelle Boutique

  4. You are spot on with how important reading is and to have it presented in fun ways and always available is terrific. Thanks for linking up at Wonderful Wed Blog Hop. Carrie, A Mother's Shadow

  5. I love these suggestions, reading outside while playing, what can be more fun? I also created a super, super fun printable "Book Traveler Passport" with realistic kids lit stamps. It would be so much fun to play as a game with the children during the summer or any time! I added it in the linky above. Thanks so much!


I absolutely love to read your comments ... I don't get to respond to all of them but do leave me a link to your blog or favourite social media accounts so I can hop over for a visit ... Alice x