Reading Tips For Staying On Track This Summer

By Elaine McDermott, Owner Club Z! In Home Tutoring Services of Pittsburgh July 25, 2022

For many parents, the end of the school year doesn’t signal feelings of relief and joy, but rather feelings of concern and worry for the next school year. Students who struggled to complete the school year or received less than desirable final grades can also have feelings of anxiety and unrest when thinking about back-to-school. These feelings are only amplified when the struggling subject area is something as crucial to learning and classroom performance as reading. 

But did you know that there exists a hidden gift that will guarantee your students’ vocabulary and language development over the summer months? Did you know that this same gift could unleash a student’s critical thinking and conversational skills next school year? The best part? This treasure costs nothing, requires very little preparation, and lasts forever! So what is it? It is the gift of your TIME given to students by reading aloud to them every day. The practice may sound simple, but research has proven the promises of this daily act are real.

It is never too early to start reading to your students. The time you invest in a student now will later grow into solid reading comprehension skills, a mastery of language acquisition, and a greater chance of overall success at school with benefits for behavior and attention. The following suggestions will enhance your read-aloud time with your student this summer:

  • Try to go a step beyond simply reading the book to your student. Talking about the book, either during or after reading, is vital to your student’s development of critical thinking and language skills. Asking yes or no questions, such as “Did you like the book” are not as effective. Try sharing your response to the book instead by saying something like, “I’m really surprised by the ending. I thought he would have returned home.” This may be more likely to make your student share his/her opinion. Be accepting of your student’s opinions, so that they learn there can be more than one right answer. As students become used to sharing their opinions, their insights will improve.
  • Stock an enjoyable selection of children’s books from which to choose. If you are reading to an infant, try using picture books that are in black and white. For older children, use pictures that have bright, attention-getting colors. Check to make sure the language flows nicely. Are the topics interesting for your unique student? The internet and/or librarians can be good sources for finding popular children’s books.
  • Make sure you read the book, or at least a decent-sized sampling of the book, to ensure that you like the book you are reading to your student. Your enthusiasm and enjoyment of the experience, or lack thereof, will come through.
  • Shorten or bypass long descriptive passages until your student’s attention span is capable of handling them. 
  • Allow your student to choose the book to be read. If he/she chooses the same book every night (kids love repetition), then extend the session and bring in a book of your choice to read afterwards.

If you need help to keep your student on track over the summer, please call Club Z! Tutoring at 412.348.8599 or visit us at