Best Practices in Engaging Students in Summer Reading Programs

Posted by Matt Berringer on July 9, 2014
Summer ActivitiesAre you looking for tips for keeping students engaged over the summer? Click on the image to the right for a worksheet on maintaining learning momentum!

The days of children walking into their local library, thumbing through printed books, and logging the books they’ve read with paper and pencil may be waning.

However, that doesn’t mean summer reading programs are dying off. Instead, as technology changes the way children find, read, and discuss books, many libraries and school districts are revamping traditional programs into something more modern, fresh, and exciting.

Libraries and schools must find new ways to reach out to technologically savvy children. New York State Library, for example, isn’t waiting for children to wander through the door. The organization has created a sharable 30-second online video, Dig into Reading, that aims to get kids excited about spending their summer exploring and discovering the world around them through books.

Ease of access is important. Most libraries now loan out e-books in addition to traditional hard-copy books. Many of these libraries, like the Houston Public Library, allow children to check out e-books, read them, and log their titles into online summer reading lists—all from their own living-room couch.

And once they’ve connected with students, libraries are working hard to keep them engaged throughout the summer.

The Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) is keeping teenagers engaged through a book discussion group on GoodReads, a website that allows users to rate and review books. The BCPL group has more than 400 members who discuss everything from good beach reads to entertaining audio books for long car rides.

Similarly, students from seven school districts have been selected to participate in the National Summer Learning Association’s reading program with myON, which gives students unlimited access to thousands of digital books, as well as a social networking platform through which they can rate and review books. Students can search for books based on their interests and targeted reading levels and use tools to track and measure their summer reading progress.

In addition, these are five of the tips Open Education Database offered for libraries and school districts looking to incorporate more technology into summer reading programs:

  1. Utilize Vine video book reviews
  2. Set up Pinterest boards featuring summer book suggestions and upcoming program events
  3. Host online book discussions
  4. Offer technological prizes for participants
  5. Teach participants how to use reading apps to easily log their summer reading minutes

Did you enjoy this post? If so, please check out APPsolutely Fun Solutions for Summertime Academic Regression.