Written by Casey Keyser, MSEA Third Grade Teacher
Did you know that “Children who read at least 20 minutes a day are exposed to almost 2 million words per year”?
Let me say it louder so you can hear me… 2 million words! This is huge for the young developing mind, but having two or more months off from school makes this very difficult to maintain during summer break.
What can you do as an educator or parent to help close this reading gap?! The answer is simple… give them a ton of opportunities to pick up and book and make it FUN!
Make Reading Fun!
Whether you grab a flashlight, a stuffed animal (my students call them “stuffies”), or build a fort, you can engage in fun ways to get your child reading each and every day!
Reading should be something a child is interested in doing, not forced. You want to give them the opportunity to build a love for reading. During the school year, students are often made to read on a specific topic. Summer is a great opportunity to read topics that they are interested in, so they can discover a love for reading. To do that, you’ll need to find out what topics those are. Have them “taste” or try a wide range of different genres of books.
To help you out, I’ve created this Summer Reading BINGO that you can introduce to your students/children this summer! The challenge is for them to either complete as many boxes as possible or complete a BINGO (Vertical, Horizontal, Diagonal, postage stamp, or four corners).
(click to download!)
I encourage my students to complete their Summer BINGO over their summer break and then give them an opportunity to turn it in the first week of school to SPIN THE WHEEL!
What’s the wheel!? Well, I live to make everything a game so I use my Prize Wheel to show what prizes they could win if they complete the BINGO sheet over the summer!
I use small prizes such as glitter slime, fidgets, lunch with the teacher, pencils, stickers, bubbles, stress balls, V.I.P. chair, chalk, and erasers. The pure joy of watching a student spin the wheel is worth it alone! If you would like to check these favorite classroom items out, check out my page of favorites here.
Engagement is KEY!
This prize wheel is from Amazon and I use it for so many different reasons. The middle section is a simple circle so I design different labels for each wheel spinning occasion. I created a Summer Fun prize wheel FREEBIE here, simply print and tape onto your wheel.
Don’t have a prize wheel yet? Check out my favorite two here.
Parents, you could also easily do this at home as well. If you don’t want to purchase a wheel, just put a list of prizes in a random generator like this one!
There are also other ways to excite your students with a summer full of reading…
- Free books
- Extra recess
- Eat outside with a blanket
- Ice cream or specials treat
- Just the pure enjoyment of the BINGO! (you don’t always have to have a prize)
I kick the Summer Reading BINGO off by giving each student a printed copy of the BINGO board, a Summer bookmark (BONUS FREEBIE), and a summer-themed chapter book they can keep!
For books, I use Scholastic Book Clubs to buy the $1.00 books each year. This is a cheaper way to give your students a book on their reading level. If you have not signed up for Scholastic Books Club yet, use this code (00091 – Casey Keyser – 2473029383) to earn an Extra 250 Bonus Points to redeem for FREE books!
I have also gone through my own classroom library books and weeded out ones that I can give away. This allows my students to pick their own book to take home.
Preparing our Students for Summer at Home
My class then discusses ways to be able to access FREE books from the local library and school and how to read books online for FREE.
Here are some of my favorite online book websites!
- Epic Books! – Unlimited access to hundreds of high-quality kids read-along books.
- Capstone Reading – The perfect Capstone Interactive eBook is waiting for you! Choose from different subjects, genres, and levels to find just the right book.
- Vooks – Vooks is a streaming service for kids, where storybooks come to life!
- Noggin – Noggin’s ever-expanding library of downloadable eBooks feature your kids’ favorite Nickelodeon stars.
Time to get started; we cross off the first box together! This way all of my students get to start with one box already crossed off — it’s like a FREE space! You can pick any that work for your classroom but I do “Read on the Dark with a Flashlight.”
I have a class set of mini flashlights from Amazon and I have the students crawl under their desks and read in the dark with their flashlights for 20 minutes. It’s such a fun and peaceful way to get them excited about reading!
I love so many different books, but here are four of my favorite summer reads. I love to select and focus on books that are thought-provoking and entertaining. “Be You!” By: Peter H. Reynolds is a book about being all the things you were born to be. “Do Unto Otters”: A Book About Manners By: Laurie Keller is a book to remind students about manners and how to be a good friend and a good neighbor. “The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors” By: Drew Daywalt is a witty fun adventure about the classic game Rock, Paper, Scissors. I always challenge my students in a battle of this game and it’s a great time to review the rules of playing fair. Lastly, I love the book, “Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great” By: Bob Shea. This book is about a goat who thinks he wants to be a unicorn. Join him on his adventure to discover himself and why he is great himself.
Helping your students or children find a love of reading is so very important, for more blog posts on Summer fun, head over to Fair Winds Teaching.
Thanks for reading!
– Casey Keyser
Other Favorite Summer Products
Summer Minute to Win It challenge – Grab a one-minute timer and have some fun. Includes the directions and materials needed to play 13 different Summer/ End of School themed Minute to Win it games! Living those summer vibes! Use this digitally, at summer school, during the summer with your own kids, or at school at the beginning of the year! Check out my YouTube channel here for 3 free games now!
Your Future’s so Bright Sunglasses – Grab a pair of sunglasses and print these labels for a great end-of-the-year gift!
Casey Keyser is a third-grade teacher at Butterfly Ridge Elementary in Frederick County, Maryland. She was recently recognized as the national winner of the NEA Foundation’s 2021 Teaching in Excellence Award. Casey is the proud owner of the Education Resource Blog, Fair Winds Teaching, and loves to connect with her education community through her TeacherPayTeacher’s business.
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