Tackle summer reading assignments!

“zzzzz…BORING!” my students tell me. Even though students received their summer reading assignments weeks ago, no one’s started yet. If your student is one of these, now’s the time to start! Many English classes assign books to read over the summer, in an attempt for classes to “jump right in” when school starts. Summer reading is designed to stimulate the mind and jumpstart the themes for the coming school year. Check out these helpful tips on how to begin (and make it through!) that “boring” summer reading.

1) Have a reading buddy. Just as with exercising or eating healthier, it really helps to have a buddy. Not only does a reading buddy help keep both students accountable, but there’s someone to help understand the material also. Discussing the novel with each other will help each of them understand the assignment much better than reading on each’s own.

If your student doesn’t know anyone else who has to read the book, you or someone else (a relative or tutor!) can be the buddy. I’m often the reading buddy for my students, especially with books that are new to me. This way, we both stay on task and we can discuss the book as we go along.

2) Schedule the reading time. To keep the reading from feeling overwhelming, or to keep from simply running out of time, students should have structured reading time. Some schools have a “reading period” for students, and time at home should have reading scheduled also. If your student already enjoys reading, great. If not, scheduling time (such as, each day from 2-3 p.m.) helps immensely.

3) Annotate. Some people call this journaling; some people call it annotating. Whatever it’s called in your student’s class, it’s a matter of taking notes while reading. As suggested in “Ten Tips to Help Your Child with Reading and Writing,” reading actively improves reading skills and comprehension. Have paper or a notebook ready at all times. That way, when something interesting or worth noting (or confusing) happens, the reader can jot it down with comments immediately.

4) Read the interesting one first. Even students who like to read tend to find summer reading lists difficult to tackle. If there’s more than one book on the list, start with the one that looks somewhat interesting. (Do all of them look uninteresting? Sorry, pick one anyway.) Slightly interesting books will go by quickly, and the student will feel accomplished and motivated to move on to the next one.

…or read the least interesting one first. Once that one’s done, all the rest should go by much quicker!

5) Plan rewards. As stated in “Overcome procrastination!” incentives are a great way of encouraging students to finish tasks. While rewards and incentives can’t be given for everything, they can help motivate a student to start (and finish) a task.

These tips have helped my students start their summer reading. Hopefully, they’ll help yours too. If not, let me know and we’ll see what else we can do! Remember that themes in our reading books are important to understanding cultures and society. Taking care of summer reading lists really does give the student a boost with following along during the school year. Happy learning!

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