Inspire Summer Reading: Five Tips & the Research

Help students discover the fun of summer reading with our free interactive
infographic, "Your Summer Reading Journey." Students enter five book titles and check off each book as they finish it. Below are five tips to help your students get started, followed by our fact sheet on stopping summer reading loss.

1. Plan a journey

Click here to open the pdf. Then download the pdf to your desktop so can create your journey.

Or you can download a printable version.

Have students make a list of books to read during the summer, on topics that interest them and at a level that supports reading growth. The Summer Reading Journey interactive pdf is a great tool for recording their accomplishments and progress.

Studies show:

  • Students are more likely to read books they choose.
  • Struggling readers frequently select books that are too difficult.
  • Some students choose books well below their skill level, so they are not challenged.

There are many great ways to build excitement for creating a book list, from having students give “book commercials” to making character posters.

Total Reader supports book selection in two important ways:

  • A Lexile range is provided for each student at three levels:  easy, targeted and instructional.
  • The Lexile Book Finder helps students search for books within their Lexile range in 28 interest categories.

2. Set a goal

After you measure student reading skills at the end of the school year, help them set a Lexile Measure goal for the summer. Students are motivated when they have clear goals and an engaging way to view their progress - especially when it's online and personal.

With Total Reader, students read short passages and see a new Lexile measure after completing each passage. On their personal interactive dashboard, they can set a Lexile measure goal and watch their progress. In general, growth is gradual, increasing over time.

If you use Total Reader in the classroom, send students home with their username and password for the summer. Sign up here for a free trial for your classroom, school or district.

3. Be prepared

Prepare students for summer reading by working on foundational skills that support independent reading.

Foundational skills include comprehension, fluency, phonemic awareness, phonics and vocabulary. Total Reader’s What Works Reading Guide provides guidance on best practices for reading instruction.

For example, Total Reader flags missed vocabulary words on each student's progress report. Students can review the list with a teacher or on their own.

4. Communicate to parents

Communicate to parents how they can support their child’s summer reading journey. Provide a list of summer reading programs in your area as well as the child's Summer Reading Journey plan.

More tips for parents:

  • Take your child to the public library or a bookstore and help them find educational sites with books to read.
  • Provide a quiet, comfortable, well-lit space to read and help schedule time for reading.
  • Listen to your child read short book selections out loud or give a book report.
  • Know your child's Lexile measure and follow their progress in Total Reader. Help them establish goals and monitor their own progress.
  • Assist your child with challenging work, but encourage independence.

5. Praise!

Use positive reinforcement such as rewards and praise to help students be successful.


Support Summer Reading Gain

Research has proven that summer school has a positive effect on academic gains in the following school year and is especially beneficial for stopping summer reading loss.

Total Reader has a unique ability to support summer school reading programs, because it aligns well with school strategies and easily engages students in reading. 

Teachers can use Total Reader as an online reading "treat" because students like to go online, choose a passage on a fun topic, and finding out their new Lexile measure as soon as they complete a passage. Passages take about 10 minutes to complete and encourage careful reading. Each missed vocabulary word is flagged. Students can review what they missed on their own or with a teacher.

Learn more in our Summer Reading Loss Fact Sheet!

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