The Place for Expert Reading Advice

The Place for Expert Reading Advice

Reading Spotlight Blog - What the Research Says

Do You Want Your Children To Do More Summer Reading?


Modern life poses many interesting recreational pursuits for students of all ages–

Is summer reading for pleasure one that your children enjoy?

Its importance cannot be underestimated.

Be sure to read Reading Spotlight’s previous Summer Reading Blog Post,

regarding research about the huge benefits of summer reading.

If you really want your child or teen to read more this summer,

foster these three proven aspects of reading motivation:


  •  Self-directed learning  (They choose their own books, according to their own interests)
  • Self-perceived competence  (They are not required to read grade level texts, but can read according to their own independent reading level)
  • Social interaction  (Discussion with family or friends can be individualized, rather than focused on school instructional goals.)


Reading in the summer is so powerful because it easily includes these three factors that have been proven to motivate even more reading.

If your children need encouragement to read for pleasure, make an extra effort to motivate them. (See Reading Spotlight’s Free Tip: Why Kids Don’t Read).

Parents, as well as teachers who send home summer book lists, can encourage summer reading.

Try initiating an informal neighborhood book club for sharing books and/or trips to the library.


At the very least, ask these emotional engagement or critique types of questions rather than the usual ones:

1. How does the story make you feel?

2. What happened to make you feel that?

3.What else makes you feel that way?

4.What part of the story did you enjoy most? Why?

5. Do you think any of your friends might also enjoy it? Why or why not?

6. Would you like to read another story by this author? Why or why not?


Ask one or more of these questions individually, in small family or neighborhood groups, or on reading record sheets from teachers on summer book lists. These types of questions have been proven to stimulate more reading by students.

If some extra motivation is required at first, include a treat afterward, such as an ice cream cone or a visit to a swimming pool, a playground, or a movie.

Many books reach into our hearts and minds and touch our shared human condition. When they ignite a motivational spark, there is no stopping the desire to read more!

Self-directed learning, self-perceived competence, and social interaction are the keys to improving reading motivation. Summer reading includes all three!

If you need ideas for a student’s interests, the librarian at your public library is a good place to start.

Other good sites to find titles of books that kids love:

American Library Association Book Lists

NEA Top 100 Children’s Books



Wigfield, JT Guthrie. Handbook of Reading Research.2000

Smith, Rook and Smith. Increasing Student Engagement Using Effective Metacognitive Writing Strategies.2010.

Harvey and Groudvis. Strategies That Work.2007


© Reading Spotlight 2017