Lifelong Learning: 5 Ways To Excite Kids about Reading this Summer

Julie Marie Frye

Julie Marie Frye


We know there are learning gaps among children, and perhaps what creates the greatest gap  is determined by how our children spend their time during the summer months. When young people consistently read recreationally during the summer, they can maintain (if not make gains on) their reading levels.

Here are a few tips, as you co-create a summer full of transformation and promote lifelong learning.

1. Children need books that connect to their interests.

If your child isn’t stoked about an elementary-aged girl in a bonnet who lives on the prairie, there are so many other options... even if you want to push quality, classic children’s literature. Journey with your child to make the perfect match between her/his interests and an author, series, or individual books. Perhaps there’s something on these lists that will hook your child…? 

Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) 2016 Summer Reading List by Age

ALSC Notable Children's Books - 2016

Connecticut 2016 Governor's Summer Reading Challenge

New York Public Library Summer Reading Challenge 2016

2. Kids need more than traditional chapter books.

If reading is going to compete with other summer activities, can traditional chapter books always be the solution? If your child isn’t captivated with what s/he is reading, introduce audiobooks, graphic novels/comics, and magazines to her/his reading appetite. Take a peek at some of these national reading lists:

ALSC Graphic Novels Reading List - 2016

ALSC Notable Children's Recordings - 2016

ALSC Odyssey Award Winner Audiobooks 2008-Present

3. Make it social.

Does your child like hanging with other students at their school? Are there special children in the neighborhood or across the globe who like to Skype? Perhaps your child would like to organize or participate in a book club with some of their local or global reading “neighbors."

4. Extend your child’s relationships with experts.

Librarians and booksellers serve as bridges between young people and outstanding books. Consider introducing your child to local reading experts.

For us, we have the amazing public librarian at the Old Greenwich-Perrot branch or Diane of Diane’s Books in Greenwich. Both women are master storytellers and can pitch books to young people in special, captivating ways.

5. Co-Create reading goals with your child.

At the beginning of the summer, work with your child to set summer reading goals. Some summer reading programs at public libraries will help you and your child monitor the reading progress. Or, it might be fun to co-create a family system of recording what has been read in relationship to the goals.

Make room on the system’s grid to include the progress of all family members, so that your child sees that reading isn’t an activity just for kids; instead, it’s a way of life in your household. Celebrate together all of the family reading accomplishments.

You develop lifelong learners when you keep kids engaged in learning year round.

Pass us the baton at school in September. We’ll carry on the good work you have been committed to all summer. Cheers to the growth and development of lifelong readers!

Link to download "10 Things to Look For In an Inspirational Classroom"

Julie Marie Frye

Julie Marie Frye

Dr. Julie Marie Frye is a guest blogger who enjoys bringing innovation to inquiry projects and libraries. She serves the American Library Association on their Action Council for Social Responsibilities.