Help Your Child Get the Most Out of Their Summer Reading Assignments

The following post is from Jennifer, a lifelong educator:

Homework Helps {Make Learning Fun} |

See all of the Homework Helps posts here.

Many schools require students to read extensively during their break. It’s one thing to move your eyes over the words on each page, and quite another to really grasp the deeper meanings in a book.

No matter what age your student is, applying these strategies will help improve their comprehension and actually enjoy the book more:

Help Your Child Get the Most Out of Their Summer Reading Assignments at
source: Jennifer Burke

Set a Purpose for Reading

Knowing why you are reading helps to focus your attention.  Help your kids decide if they are reading to learn more about a period in history, to get to know something about particular characters, or to learn facts that will be needed in the upcoming school year.

Make Connections

You’ll always remember more if you connect your new knowledge to previous experiences.  There are three basic types:

  • Text to Text: what does this book remind me of in something else I’ve read?
  • Text to Self: what does this remind me of in my own life?
  • Text to World: what event or situation does this remind me of?

Stop and Think

Figuring out what the author really meant takes thought.  Encourage your student to pause at the end of a page or section and ask themselves questions, such as “What just happened?”  “Why did that happen?”  “Why is that important enough for the author to include it in this book?”

  • Record Your Thoughts: If you can, write in the book.  If not, use sticky notes. Recording your thoughts on paper increases retention.  If a particular section of the book makes your child laugh, have them write a smiley face by that part and share it with you later.  If there’s an event that seems especially important to the plot, highlight in some way.  Getting involved with more than your eyes increases your memory power!
  • Make Predictions: Trying to figure out what happens next pushes a reader to tie pieces of the story together.  In looking ahead, readers start to think about what has already happened in the story, thus increasing understanding.
  • Write a Quick Summary: Teachers require students to write after reading because it works.  Have your child record their thoughts at the end of each chapter.  They’ll be amazed at how much more they remember.

As a Parent, Read the Book, Too!

Book clubs work because good readers love to share their thoughts.  Offer your kids the same opportunity by reading their assigned novels and discussing them.  This makes the book less of an assignment and more of an experience!  (As a plus, this communicates love and care to your child – something they will long remember.  It also gives you more insight into your child’s abilities, thoughts, and dreams.  Sounds like a win-win to me!)

Are your kids motivated to read during the summer or do they drag their feet!  What helps you get them interested in a good book?

Jennifer is passionate about children and education. She homeschooled her two sons for five years, established and directed a Christian school in Maryland for 20 years, and currently teaches in a public school in a Chicago suburb. She loves investing in relationships and delights in every moment that she spends with her family.