10 Tips for Success: Kindergarten Book Lovers Keep Reading All Summer Long!
FREE resources for summer learning!
Photos used with permission from parents and educators
Powerful kindergarten literacy gains can easily be lost over the summer, especially by our emerging readers and writers who are still building foundational literacy skills. Wise kindergarten teachers have developed strategies to continue supporting family reading and oral language development over the summer. Read about 10 of our best strategies!
Keep the love of reading alive! Develop a nightly reading at home ritual and encourage families to bring back the out-loud culture with songs, poems, and rhymes!
1. Create a culture of kindergarten book lovers: Reading is Fun!
Honor the art and science of best reading instruction: We know how to create a kindergarten of book lovers and build phonemic awareness and phonics skills! All year long children interact with quality fiction and nonfiction, Read and Sing Books, and poems, songs, and rhymes—all worth reading again and again. Kids simultaneously build oral language and reading fluency.
During the last week of school, we invite children to recite the rhyme “Reading Is Fun” and once again and we brainstorm where they will read this summer (in their bed…under a tree…at the beach…at the library). Make a list of amazing places for reading!
Children can illustrate their favorite places to read on the final “Reading Is Fun” page of their “I Can Read” Anthology Notebook. They have learned to be book lovers who know:
…The more you read, the better you read, so read, read, read!
2. Does your school open the library one morning a week all summer long? Parents and staff volunteers can make family reading a summer priority. When this is not possible, work with local used bookstores and service organizations to donate books for young readers.
Establish a school-wide summer reading program. Make your summer reading program a high-priority commitment! Encourage parents to read to their children and read with their children. All. Summer. Long.
Some children benefit from additional practice with phonics-based books such as Books by Bob. Ask your literacy coordinator to provide quality take-home books for students and a list of preferred library books for emergent readers.
3. Give children a summer reading log
Invite families to RECORD all of the picture books and quality phonics-based books they read and reread together during the summer. Students proudly bring the reading logs back in September. (Some prolific readers may want to take 5 reading logs! Let them.) Each child can return their logs to their first grade teacher in the fall: Hurray for prolific readers! Have a school celebration of book lovers.
- Download our Summer Reading Logs (1-page version)
- Download our Summer Reading Logs (3-page version)
- Download “Reading Is Fun” rhyme (the Book Lovers chant!) with QR code
Trish Prentice from thedailycafe.com suggests families have a little celebration after students read the first 10 books.
“Have your child pick one favorite from that group and add it to another list, the favorites list. Then repeat with a different round of books. At the end of the summer, let your child pick the best from their favorites list. It’s the book of the summer! Wouldn’t it be fun to do this for several years? Then your child would have an all-time favorites list. These would be the books they’d read to their children someday.”
4. Remind families to recite and reread the memorable songs, poems, and rhymes, and chants from their child’s "I Can Read" Anthology Notebook pages.
Children will continue to gain oral language and reading fluency as they delight in the rhythm, rhyme, and wondrous sounds of language.
5. Share information with families about your local public library summer reading programs. Give families lists of well-loved children’s books for their trips to the library.
Download printable PDF list of books (taken from A Family Guide to Growing Young Readers on TPT)
Encourage families to keep the love of learning alive and to value unstructured childhood play.
7. Give students a collection of your favorite Nellie Edge Read and Sing Little Books
Store Nellie Edge Read and Sing Little Books™ in a zippered pouch or zip bag in the back of student “I Can Read” Notebooks. Continue building independent reading skills.
8. Ask each child or family to carefully print two self-addressed envelopes or postcards.
Print on index weight paper
During the summer, write to each child. In return, the child is given two addressed envelopes or postcards so they can write to their teacher. Children love to send and receive mail. This will encourage them to continue their passion for reading, drawing, and “Kid Writing” all summer long.
Ask families to invite aunties and grandpas to become summer writing buddies.
9. Give each child a blank drawing/writing book to use as a Science Journal or Summer Writing Book.
Writers’ Celebration with Katie Nelson and Nellie Edge
This is a lovely way to send children out the door after your end-of-year celebration. Each kindergartner receives an award, a hug, and two summer journals. Blank books are available from barebooks.com or at the Dollar Store.
Encourage each child to verbalize their summer reading goals and learning projects during the last week of school…“This summer, I want to learn about…”
“Happy summer reading to a boy who loves books!” (Scholastic Book Club has GREAT prices on quality books: Save a few extra copies every month.)
Research Consistently Shows That Giving Children Choice and Access to Books Enhances Reading Achievement over the Summer
Summer Reading: Closing the Rich/Poor Reading Achievement Gap by Richard Allington (2012)
We believe our role in building joyful family learning connections may be one of the most important contributions we make toward creating healthy schools and healthy communities. Remind families to sing, talk, dance, and read with their children! To explore nature! To memorize, recite, and perform language. To practice kindness.