Reading Adds Up: Establishing a Summer Reading Routine
Just like math, reading adds up— if a child reads 15 minutes a day for an entire year, they will have read over one million words.
Students who read frequently also tend to have higher vocabulary skills, increased success with spelling, and a deeper understanding of the world around them.
“Children who read begin to understand the importance of building better relationships and how to handle hurdles in their relationships,” said Gail Rickard, MHS Library Media Specialist for Elementary Division. “By connecting with characters in the stories they read, children view how characters handle and solve problems on their own.”
While research has proven the benefits of reading, parents and students often find themselves busy with other activities during the fun-filled days of summer. Elementary- and middle-school aged children also are typically too young to have jobs or summer homework assignments that require reading, which can make it difficult to prioritize.
To help families and children continue making progress with reading during the summer months, the librarians at Milton Hershey School have created summer reading programs and shared their favorite book suggestions for Elementary and Middle Division students.
Summer Reading Suggestions for Elementary Schoolers
Imagine how prepared an elementary student will be for school if they’re accustomed to reading every day during the summer.
“The long, lazy days of summer offer children lots of opportunities to discover new interests, new books, and the pleasure of reading just for fun,” Rickard said. “Summer is a great time for hands-on exploration that connects kids to what they are reading.”
For example, if a child is taking a trip to the zoo over the summer, they can read books about animals beforehand. By gaining background knowledge, children will be more excited for the trip and better prepared for school in the fall.
If you’re not going on a specific trip but still want to encourage summer reading, Rickard suggests the following books for elementary students of all reading levels:
1. “Miss Smith’s Incredible Storybook” by Michael Garland—Zack’s second-grade teacher, Miss Smith, has a knack for telling tales as she reads stories from her incredible book. Find out what mischievous storybook characters do when Miss Smith is late for school one day.
2. “Ramona the Pest” by Beverly Cleary—Ramona Quimby is starting kindergarten but has a little trouble along the way. Beverly Clearly explores the trials and triumphs of growing up in the Quimby household.
3. “Random House Book of Poetry for Young People” edited by Jack Prelutsky—This collection of upbeat poetry is perfect for young children and is combined with eye-catching images.
4. “How to Train Your Dragon” by Cressida Cowell—Follow along with the adventures and misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III as he tries to catch and train a dragon in the hopes of joining a Viking clan.
5. “The Magician’s Elephant” by Kate DiCamillo—Orphan Peter Augustus Duchenne knows what he wants to ask the fortune teller: Is his sister still alive? When the fortune teller answers with the word “elephant,” he begins a magical journey full of hope and mystery.
Middle-School Summer Reading Program
To encourage students to create a reading routine over the summer, the Middle Division library team established the “Go RED” program, which stands for “Go Read Every Day.”
“Through the Go RED program, we want to promote reading in a positive way, sustain reading over summer months to prevent the summer slide, and instill a lifelong love of reading,” said Rachel Reilly, the Middle Division Library Media Specialist.
Books were chosen for the program based on the reading and interest levels of the MHS student body. The top suggestions for fifth through eighth grade students include:
1. “The Year of the Dog” by Grace Lin—As Pacy celebrates the Chinese New Year with her family, she realizes this is the year she must “find herself.”
2. “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio—When Auggie Pullman was born with a facial deformity, he couldn’t go to mainstream school until now. Read about his challenges being the new kid as he tries to convince his classmates that he’s just like them.
3. “Savvy” by Ingrid Law—The Beaumont family has a magical secret: they each receive a supernatural power when they turn thirteen. When Mibs turns thirteen, events unfold that force her to quickly make sense of growing up.
4. “First Crossing” edited by Donald R. Gallo—The characters in this anthology are all teen immigrants who have experienced various challenges. Each story is unique and highlights the journeys they have all traveled.
As the summer begins to unfold, Milton Hershey School encourages you to make reading a priority!
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