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Early Literacy and Summer Reading

We all know that Summer Reading Programs ("SRP") are a great way for school-aged kids to avoid the "summer slide" - dropping several grade levels of reading ability because they aren't picking up books over their vacation. But for kids who are not yet reading on their own, the summer is a great time to continue developing those early literacy skills that are so important to learning to read. Families that participate in a library's (or bookstore's) SRP not only have added incentive to use books, but parents demonstrate to their children that reading is important and valuable by bringing them to the library to sign up!

Besides joining the SRP (which everyone should do - even the adults), what are some other ways we can make reading extra-specially fun in the summer? How can we encourage early literacy skills development in the hot summer days?

  • Have a "booknic" - take a picnic and your current favorite books to the park and spend an afternoon snacking and reading.
  • If you're going on a long family car trip, take some books on tape to listen to! These build reading comprehension, vocabulary and listening skills. Younger children may enjoy the book-and-cd combination that many libraries have available for checkout. Also pick up some fun kids' music cds so you can sing along and develop phonological skills!
  • "Paint" on the sidewalk with water or homemade chalk paint - this develops early writing skills
  • Take a trip to the zoo and use the map to find your favorite animals. When you're home again, look at the map and talk about the best things you did.  This develops print awareness and narrative and vocabulary skills!
  • Go on a scavenger hunt in your neighborhood. Print a list like this one or this one and look for items that can be marked off. Or how about a backyard alphabet hunt? These fun activities develop print awareness, pre-writing skills, vocabulary and letter knowledge. 

Any other fun summer reading activities you've got planned? Please share in the comments! What's happening at your library?



Scavenger hunt

I love the scavenger hunt idea. They can still play even if they cannot read yet. When I was really little my parents would give me coupons and allow me to pick the corresponding products at the market based off the picture on the coupon.

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