Summer is here! And with everything summer has to offer (including summer camps!), you may be on the hunt for summer literacy activities! If you’re like us, you’re always looking for new ways to help your little ones (and not-so-little ones) grow their learning, whether school is in session or not. To help, we’ve rounded up five of our favorite summer literacy hacks that you can do as a family this summer!
From preschoolers and littles (1.5 to 4 years), to the K-6 crew (4-12 years old) or older, these ideas work for families of all kinds.
Please note: While we love building summer literacy, a true love of reading can’t be forced. Encourage your kiddos to read and participate in the activities below with love, gentleness, and genuine fun, without worrying over their progress.
1. Take a Trip to the Local Library
- For Preschoolers and Littles: Ask if your library has a Storytelling Hour. Most do! For littles who can’t read on their own yet, it’s a great way to bring books to life and meet new friends.
- For the K-6 Crew: Guide your kids on a tour of the children’s section and help them understand how the books are organized. Help them find fiction and nonfiction books about their favorite animals, events, sports, and more!
- For teens, adults, and all ages: Take a quiet moment and think about the last time you read a book you really loved. Jot down a quick list of those topics or stories, and take it to the library. Then, find a librarian to connect with for a personalized recommendation from a book expert!
2. Start a Family Book Club
Don’t worry– it’s not as hard as it sounds! However, this will look different for each age, so check out our tips below.
- For Preschoolers and Littles: Start with a plan to read a certain picture book every day for a week, as a family. Let your little one choose the book, no matter how serious or silly! At the end of the week, every family member should share what they liked about the book. As a bonus, this is a great way to introduce print vocabulary like spine, cover, illustration, plot, and character!
- For the K-6 Crew and up: To adapt this activity for elementary students, select a single book as a family. For 15-30 min a day, gather together while an adult (or older sibling) reads aloud. Take turns reading! Try having your book talks over family dinner– you’ll be amazed at what your children have to say.
Questions to consider:
- Which character(s) do you relate to most? Why?
- Did anything in the story surprise you?
- What do you think is going to happen next?
- Is the book what you expected it would be? Why or why not?
- Do you think you’d recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
3. Pair reading with RUNNING!
Sometimes summer literacy activities get a bad rap for being too sedentary. Even the most avid bookworm needs wiggle breaks! For those of you with extra active kiddos, don’t worry– these summer literacy ideas are sure to succeed.
- For Preschoolers and Littles: Try a sticky note scavenger hunt! On one large paper, write the capital letters of the alphabet. Then, write lower-case letters on brightly colored sticky notes, and hide them around the house. Your tiny one will love racing to find all the matching letters! For a challenge, try using a timer.
- For the K-6 Crew: Adapt the sticky note scavenger hunt to include sight words for early readers; tricky spelling words for older kids; or even matching vocab words with definitions! For an added challenge, hide the notes around the house/yard, and use written riddles or clues to lead your child to the notes!
4. Turn Up the Drama
Does your child have a flair for the dramatic? Were they born to perform? Sometimes, kids who love an audience struggle to enjoy quiet reading time. Turn summer literacy into a show and watch your child grow!
- For Preschoolers and Littles: Read a picture book together, then act out the story with dress-up clothes, silly sounds, and more! Simple stories like “The Three Little Pigs” are a great starting point. Let your child decide on the roles and guide you through the story.
- For the K-6 Crew: Introduce a Reader’s Theater at home! Every member of the family gets their own script and uses their voices and actions to tell a story. (Visit the link above for more information, resources, and scripts for this cool activity.)
- For all ages: Try the improv game “One Word At a Time!” To play this game, family gathers in a circle, and each take turns adding one word to a story to make up their own tale! For example, the first person might say “Once”; the next might say “upon”; the next might say “a”; the next, “time”– and away you go! While this game doesn’t involve reading print, it does build storytelling concepts, as well as vocabulary ideas like beginning, middle, and end. Oral composition is the first step to written composition!
5. Get Artsy!
Last but not least, we love combining summer literacy with visual art! Creating art involves so many different parts of the brain, and can help children build fine motor skills, communication skills, and more. Check out our artistic summer literacy ideas below!
- For preschoolers and littles: Using printer paper (or larger sheets), write each letter of your child’s name on a separate piece of paper. (For children who can trace or write already, consider using a highlighter or light color so that their own work shows on top.) Tape the pages together to make a banner. Your little one can use markers, crayons, or paint to trace the letters and decorate the pages. (For extra fun, consider carefully supervised glitter glue or googly eyes!)
- For the K-6 crew: Collect old magazines and newspapers to make original collage art. Encourage your children to use pictures and color swatches, but also to find words and letters that stand out and match the theme and mood of the collage they are creating. If you can, make your own, too– your child will love to see what you make, and will be inspired by the family experience.
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