Ideas for Teachers and Parents · Summer Reading Programs

Summer Reading Programs: Part Three, Summer Reading Resources

One of the most difficult things about finding good reading resources online is the fact that there are so many of them out there! Simply typing the words “reading practice” or “reading lists for kids” into the Google search bar will literally pull up millions of results. Honestly, it can be a little overwhelming to sift through all of the options that are available.

To help narrow things down a bit, here are some of my favorite reading resources, which could be used for summer reading, or year-round.

Reading Lists and Book Recommendations:

  • We Are Teachers: This website not only breaks down their reading recommendations by grade level, but also by topic (including seasons and holidays). They include titles for students in kindergarten all the way up through high school.
  • K-12 School Reading List: This website breaks down their reading recommendations by grade level, and also includes magazine recommendations for readers of various ages (including parents and teachers). It is helpful to know that the lists for grades 9-12 do include several titles that may be required reading at your student’s school, many of which are well-known classics.
  • ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children): The ALSC has a tremendous number of resources available, including summer reading lists, lists of books that contain “tough topics,” graphic novel lists, and much more. These resources are geared toward children from preschool through grade 8.

Parent Resources:

  • ReadWriteThink: This website provides parents with a ton of after-school resources, including: activities and projects, games, printouts, podcasts, and tips for helping your child with reading and writing. The resources are organized by grade, and cover kindergarten through grade 12. If you are a teacher, ReadWriteThink also offers classroom and professional development resources.
  • Reading Rockets: Reading Rockets has a tremendous number of resources for both parents and teachers. The “For Parents” section of the site includes tips for reading with your child, information about digital media, author interviews, ideas to help struggling readers, and much more. This website also has a really nice selection of book lists, which are organized into themes.

Additional Summer Learning Activities:

While my area of expertise is reading and writing, I know that some of you may also be on the lookout for summer learning activities that span a wide range of academic subjects. If that is the case, I recommend checking out websites like Pinterest. People are constantly posting creative ideas on Pinterest, including activities related to science, math, reading, writing, history, geography, music, and art.

This summer, I also highly recommend taking time out for authentic, real-world learning experiences. For example, if you’re making chocolate chip cookies (one of my favorite activities), you have a great opportunity to not only teach baking skills, but also reinforce math concepts like fractions, counting, estimation, and even multiplication. (For example, if we put three rows of cookies on this tray and each row has four cookies in it, how many cookies can we put on a tray?) These kinds of lessons not only reinforce useful skills, but they can also be delicious.

Summer Reading Programs:

One of the best resources for summer reading is your local library’s summer reading program. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many libraries are currently closed until measures can be put in place that will allow libraries to re-open safely (for both library staff and patrons).

The recent library closures have had an impact on summer reading programs in many areas. But before you give up on the idea of participating in your library’s summer reading program, make sure to check their website. Some libraries are offering online access to enable their patrons to participate in summer reading programs, even if their buildings have to remain closed.

If you’re like me, however, and your local library does not currently have an online summer reading program, there are some websites and local businesses that do.

  • Scholastic
    • Scholastic Summer Read-A-Palooza: Scholastic is currently hosting their Summer Read-A-Palooza through Scholastic Home Base. Using their free Home Base account, kids will be able to track “reading streaks” to earn digital experiences and help donate books to people who don’t have access to them.
    • Scholastic also provides education resources for parents and caregivers.
  • Book It!
    • The Pizza Hut Book It! program has been around since 1984. Back when I was a kid, I used to participate in the program and loved it. It is open to children in grades K-6, and is currently available as an online program.
    • Book It! also provides reading resources for teachers and parents, including some great reading tracker printables.
  • Half Price Books:
    • The Half Price Books Feed Your Brain program has gone virtual this year. While the website has not yet been fully updated for this year’s program, Half Price Books does have some free coloring and puzzle printables available for download, as well as reading recommendations for kids and teens. I will be keeping an eye on this website over the coming weeks, and will post an update on Twitter @UnapologBkworm when the website is updated.

Participation in any (or all) of these programs is free, but can be somewhat limited. Many of the summer reading programs I’ve found in my online searches have been available only for children and teens, or for children in specific grades.

Of course, if you’re looking for a more personalized summer reading program that will appeal to every member of your family, you can always create one yourself. Interested in finding out how? If so, I hope you’ll check back tomorrow for my ideas on how to create an awesome summer reading program based out of your own home.

If you’ve missed any of this week’s posts, the following schedule contains links to previous summer reading articles. This schedule may be subject to change:

I hope you all have a wonderful day! Stay healthy!

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