Now Enrolling for the 2024-25 School Year click here

CCA Teachers Offer 15 Tips for Meaningful Summer Reading

    Request Information

    Fill out this short form to learn why CCA is the right fit for your family.

    Your Email Address

    By submitting this request for information, I authorize CCA to contact me by email.

    Para obtener ayuda en español, llame al 844-590-2864 y un representante de CCA lo ayudará a completar el formulario.

    CCA Teachers Offer 15 Tips for Meaningful Summer Reading

    Enjoy summer reading with CCA

    Help your kids build reading skills and enter the next grade level fully prepared.

    Teachers agree: Summer reading is a family affair. By wrapping summer reading in related activities and meaningful questions, parents help their children build reading skills and enter the next grade fully prepared for new heights in achievement.

    15 Tips for Summer Reading Activities for Kids

    To make the most of summer learning, try these 15 tips from Commonwealth Charter Academy teacher Abigail Saul.

    1. Visit Your Local Library

    Libraries are rich sources of information and activities where kids socialize and see the power of ideas in action. Librarians can offer selections that challenge and entertain your students. Special events like reading contests and story days for young children are often held at libraries, so be sure to ask a librarian about participating in the community there.

    2. Read the Book, See the Movie

    Let your student compare and contrast, exploring why the filmmaker made choices to alter characters and plots. Ask open-ended questions about the movie to engage their memory of the reading material. For example, why do they think a change was made from the book, and how was the theme affected by this modification?

    3. Offer Small Incentives

    The purpose of using incentives is to encourage your student to reach their reading goals. You can get creative with your incentives and offer everything from candy to special privileges. One CCA student who loves horseback riding gets to enjoy her riding lessons after reading to the horse first, for example. 

    4. Make Reading Relevant

    Use travel and activities to build a love of exploration and independence. Turn the family vacation into an excursion among lighthouses, or take a weekend to go camping. Bring a story to life with a change of scenery that kids can connect to a book. 

    Another way to apply stories to real life is to cook food from a book you’ve read or make a craft based on a story event or the kids’ favorite characters.

    5. Get Moving or Get Outdoors

    If kids must concentrate on reading 30 minutes a day, they need to burn excess energy. Going outdoors gives them a peaceful space to read where they can also be active.

    6. Use the “Retelling Hand”

    The “retelling hand” is used to encourage your student to recount the story in detail. Imagine a hand with an element on each finger, and ask about characters, settings, the dilemma or goal, events sparked by a problem, and the resolution. The act of retelling the story helps students build reading comprehension.

    The retelling hand is useful for tapping into their memory because it helps kids concentrate more clearly on one thing at a time. As they learn about story elements, they can easily become overwhelmed and mix connections up between stories. Carefully go over each element when you read a new story, and let them repeat these components back to you. When they get comfortable with stories, start having them come up with the elements on their own using the retelling hand.

    7. Read Aloud Together

    Reading to your kids will help them develop better English skills such as pronunciation and spelling. Kids enjoy listening to a story read aloud so they can imagine the narrative unfolding before them.

    8. Read the Same Books and Discuss Them

    Utilize your kids’ reading list to stay up to date with the progression of their skills. This will give you the opportunity to ask about the reading material and coach them toward understanding it better.

    If you know what they’re reading, you can get an idea of why they enjoyed a story and recommend new ones. You will also familiarize yourself with their struggles. For example, if your child is good at sounding out words but struggles with reading comprehension, you will know they need more help understanding the content from talking about the story with them. 

    Let kids select a book from a list of pre-approved options

    9. Let Them Choose

    Let your kids select a book from a list of pre-approved options. They will learn more easily if they get to choose reading material that suits their personal tastes. As they age, their tastes will develop, and they will consume materials with higher reading levels and more complex ideas.

    10. Buy Audiobooks as Well as Physical Books

    Some kids are auditory learners, and others will learn more easily if they can read the material while following along with a voice. An audiobook might be just what your child needs to concentrate on the reading. Audiobooks bring the story to life more directly than a movie can, showing listeners the entire narrative with the only visual elements being from the physical book’s pages.

    11. Make Arrangements for Pen Pals

    Crafting letters and receiving responses will help children practice their writing skills in addition to their reading comprehension. They will also learn to correct spelling errors and use the most appropriate grammatical structures this way. Pen pal exercises encourage unique social relationships among peers.

    If the children are young, help them prepare their writing by using paper lined with letter boxes to guide their handwriting. Let them draw their own pictures in the empty space below their work. It’s also a good idea to give them letter prompts so they will have a subject to discuss with their friends.

    12. Create a Fun Reading Space

    A reading nook is a colorful and engaging space often set up in classrooms to interest children in books. Decorate your reading nook to create a child-friendly area where your kids can retreat to. You can even place a personalized reading space in your kid’s room and encourage them to collect their favorite books there. 

    13. Make up a Reading Routine or Goal

    Setting goals will help children grow in their abilities as they get used to establishing routines later in life. As they strive to reach their goals, use a rewards system for when they achieve their next level. Positive reinforcement gives them something to look forward to for doing a good job, and if your student has difficulties with reading, they will feel more motivated with rewards waiting.

    14. Introduce Them to a Book Series

    A popular new book series could get your kid interested in reading other books. They can share ideas about the characters and the plot with their friends and relatives as they read each new book, making social connections throughout the book series. Some series written for children gradually increase in reading difficulty as the story progresses, making them great for maintaining interest throughout the years.

    15. Be a Reading Role Model

    Setting a good example for your kids will guide them to have a healthy appreciation for reading. Every child has a subject they struggle in or that interests them less than the others, and reading is a skill many kids may learn more slowly. If you reward their efforts by being enthusiastic about the subject, even kids who struggle to read will see the value in it.

    How to Be a Reading Role Model

    Children learn to enjoy reading by living in an environment where books are readily available and adults support their learning. You can serve as a reading role model for your child by: 

    • Surrounding yourself with reading material: Fill the bookshelves in your home with plenty of age-appropriate content that fits your child’s development. Include books with a story that you enjoy and that your kids can look forward to reading on their own when they get older.
    • Drawing attention to what you read: This can be as simple as showing your kids the book you’re currently reading to see if they might be interested. Talk about the subject and genre with them. Recommend an age-friendly book with a similar concept or theme.
    • Reading with others: When you read solo, your kids remain distant from your experience. Share your books with them, or let them get involved by reading books out loud. 
    • Reading for fun: When you read for pleasure outside your work hours, your kids see that reading can be about more than school or work.
    • Emphasizing the importance of reading: Reading teaches many valuable English skills that the curricula will build upon as kids age. Encouraging them to be avid readers from an early age will keep their skills polished and may help them achieve a reading level beyond their age range.
    • Keeping film adaptations at home: After you finish reading a book, reward your kids by watching the film with them. Holding a movie night is a great bonding activity, and it will give the kids an opportunity to use their critical thinking skills as they observe how the book differs from the movie. 

    Suggested Reading

    Kids go home with reading lists every summer. The point, teachers agree, is not unblinking adherence to the list but its use as a jumping-off point for exploring the wondrous world of books. Each child differs in their reading level, and summer reading and learning can make all the difference in preparing your child to move to the next level and learn to love reading for a lifetime.

    Books for Grades K-3:

    • Classic: “The Mouse and the Motorcycle,” by Beverly Cleary. Introduce your reader to the timeless delights of Beverly Cleary with this tale of a mouse named Ralph who finds adventure on a toy motorcycle.
    • Topical: “If I Never Forever Endeavor,” by Holly Meade. Gorgeously illustrated in collage by the author, this story of a bird building the courage to fly from his cozy nest resonates with children learning to dare.
    • Series: “Shiloh,” by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. A boy rescues a beagle from its abusive owner, but he must keep his act of heroism a secret.
    • Historical fiction: “Sam the Minuteman,” by Nathaniel Benchley (author) and Arnold Lobel (illustrator). Sam and his father rush to protect their colonial village from an attack by British soldiers.
    • Just for fun: “Millions of Cats,” by Wanda Gág. “Hundreds of cats, thousands of cats, millions and billions and trillions of cats.” Kids — and their grownups — love chanting the refrain from this tale of an old man in search of the world’s prettiest cat.

    Books for Grades 4-6:

    • Classic: “Island of the Blue Dolphins,” by Scott O’Dell. A girl stranded on a lush Pacific island learns to survive while discovering her inner self.
    • Topical: “Mockingbird,” by Kathryn Erskine. Faced with the loss of a beloved brother to a school shooting, Caitlyn learns to navigate a world of subtleties previously unseen through her Autism Spectrum Disorder.
    • Series: “The Search for WondLa,” by Tony DiTerlizzi. Eva Nine, raised by the robot Muthr, searches for other humans after the destruction of her underground sanctuary.
    • Nonfiction/history: “Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott,” by Russell Freedman. Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a white man, unleashing a milestone movement in American civil rights.
    • Just for fun: “Herbert’s Wormhole,” by Peter Nelson (author) and Rohitash Rao (illustrator). Herbert and his friend time-travel and find heroism in a wacky 22nd century.

    Books for Grades 7-8:

    • Classic: “The Hobbit,” by J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s time to introduce your student to Tolkien’s world of hobbits, sorcerers, elves, and a ring-hoarder called Gollum.
    • Topical: “Goodbye Stranger,” by Rebecca Stead. Can three old friends survive the hazards of growing up, finding purpose, and bringing new friends into the group?
    • Series: “Redwall,” by Brian Jacques (author) and Troy Howell (illustrator). Bumbling young apprentice Matthias helps defend his colony of peace-loving mice.
    • Nonfiction/history: “You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton?” by Jean Fritz. Young Elizabeth Cady Stanton helps change the world after a lifetime of pondering the illogical laws and customs preventing women from voting and speaking in public.
    • Just for fun: “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” by Shel Silverstein. Enter the warped world of Silverstein, where Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout learns the consequences of refusing to take the garbage out, and an encounter with a boa constrictor doesn’t end well.

    Books for Grades 9-12:

    • Classic: “Romeo and Juliet,” by William Shakespeare. The star-crossed lovers will never get a break, but their tale continues to illuminate the hazards of hatred and the depths of true love.
    • Topical: “Mexican Whiteboy,” by Matt De La Peña. A half-Mexican boy growing up in San Diego seeks friendship, acceptance, and identity in a world that judges him at first sight.
    • Series: “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins. Katniss Everdeen wields her bow and arrow for justice and freedom in a dystopian world once known as North America.
    • Nonfiction/history: “The Glass Castle: A Memoir,” by Jeannette Walls. Walls turns a keen eye on her childhood, when she and her siblings learned to care for themselves in the wake of their parents’ dysfunction.
    • Just for fun: “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” by Rachel Cohn. A boy asks a girl, “Would you mind being my girlfriend for the next five minutes?” Those five minutes turn into an all-night quest by the mismatched pair to find a legendary band’s secret show.

    Enjoy summer reading with CCA

    Enjoy Summer Reading With CCA

    Help your kids get ahead in their studies with an online summer program. Online curricula offer many advantages for maturing minds. Learn more about reading strategies and how CCA encourages continued learning by contacting us today. 


    Commonwealth Charter Academy


    June 29th, 2021


    Learning Lab

      Request Information

      Address Info
      Call 844-590-2864

        CCA helps learners gain the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to achieve success.

        Back To Top

        Interested in CCA?

        Enroll Now Request Info

        or Call (844) 590 2864