June 30, 2023

5 Simple Summer Reading Routines for Families

5 simple summer reading routines


Summer is officially in full swing and, for many parents, these next two months will be spent managing work, vacations and lazy days at the pool or the beach. Maybe most importantly, the months of July and August is an opportunity for a more laid back schedule with our children before September stress returns.


Summer is also the perfect time to retool your family’s routines to encourage your child to read more. A growing body of research suggests that children in grades 3-5 can lose up to 20% of the reading gains they made the previous year during summer break.


While schools work to combat these potential losses by providing book lists and summer assignments, parents can help to increase their children’s motivation to read by setting up a positive reading routine at home. Make these small shifts to encourage more summertime reading:


1. Think beyond bedtime reading!

Reading right before bed is a beautiful ritual but adding an additional 15 to 20 minutes during the day or early evening to read together has great benefits. It obviously increases the time your child reads during the day, but it also establishes a new family routine that will support reading during the school year when children are often asked to read and then respond to their reading in writing. Setting aside time for daytime reading as a family, when your child is alert, will pay off immensely when school resumes. 


2. Audiobooks count!

Long drives and congested roads are the perfect recipe for listening to audiobooks with children in the car. Choosing audiobooks just beyond your child’s independent reading level will build your child’s vocabulary, provide adult demonstration of phrased, fluent reading, develop knowledge of written language syntax and story structure, and expose them to new authors and genres. 


3. Add some bathroom books!

Everyone in the family should pick out a book they will read in the bathroom. While the idea may make your child giggle, it is an amazing way to sneak in more reading. Your family could even set up a friendly competition to see who completed the most bathroom books over the summer.


4. Be a reading role model!

Maybe you are a voracious reader and maybe you aren’t. Whatever your habits, make certain that your child knows you are reading! You can even consider not reading on your phone or tablet, opting instead for an old-fashioned paperback. It can be a powerful motivation when children are invited to join in adult reading time. 


5. Share your reading identity!

Everyone is some kind of reader. Tell your child what kind of reader you are. Maybe you are the type who makes strong mental pictures as you read, perhaps you prefer stories with a lot of dialogue, or you really enjoy true crime, etc. Whichever it is, you can have a conversation about your child’s developing reading identity which will help them make better book choices and, in turn, increase their enjoyment of reading. 


The most important thing to remember? Don’t stress out about increasing reading in your home. Enjoying books together is fun, not work. This summer, plan to chill out with your child by enjoying a cool glass of lemonade and a good book!


About the Author

faculty/staff photo Kate George has been the Lower School Director at Bay Ridge Prep since 2002. Prior to Bay Ridge Prep, she was a very successful elementary school teacher at P.S. 321 in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where her classroom was used as a lab site for teachers in training from both Columbia University’s Teachers College as well as Bank Street College of Education. In addition to her position as Lower School Director, Kate has served as an adjunct professor in the literacy department of Bank Street College’s Graduate School of Education.


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