07/23/20

Keep Kids Learning This Summer Part II:  6 Free Resources to Keep Kids Reading

By Dan Tahaney, Director of Literacy

Hopefully, if you read the first part to this blog series, you have been able to engage with some fun summer reading with your child. If you missed it, click here to check it out!

I’m sure you have a bookshelf full of books they’ve read at least once or a dozen times (or maybe even never!) to keep them entertained for the first week of summer reading and by now they’re looking for something new. The key to making reading something your kids will enjoy and not just see as another chore, is to help them find what they actually like to read. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with these six free resources to help you keep your kids reading all summer long!

6 Free Summer Reading Resources to Keep Kids Reading

  1. Free Library of Philadelphia: Although most libraries remain physically closed due to the pandemic, there are many digital resources such as e-books you can access from home. The Free Library of Philadelphia has many free online books you can access with a library card. If you don’t have a library card, you can click here to get one. Once you have your card, head over to the Free Library’s main page which has links to books, events, and many digital resources.
  2. PowerLibrary: Pennsylvania also has the largest shared online state library in the country called the PowerLibrary. In addition to sharing resources across libraries, such as print books, there are many e-books available for free. Take a minute to get a free e-membership card and check out this amazing resource.
  3. Summer Reading Lists by Grade Level: Of course, there are no shortage of books or e-books, but many parents and kids struggle with what to select. If they are not sure what they like, it can be pretty overwhelming. I mentioned it earlier, but it’s worth repeating: the key to getting kids to love reading is to help them discover what they like to read. Once they have a book they are actually interested in, you may find that you have to tell your child to put down the book and turn off the lights already! To help you to get to that point, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has put together summer reading lists by grade level. You can use this list as a starting point to help your child to explore different genres and even styles of books until you find one that clicks with your unique child. Check it out here!
  4. K-12 Summer Reading Packets: Readworks offers free K-12 Summer Reading Packets for every grade level. These packets include fiction and nonfiction passages and questions on an array of topics to keep kids reading and critically thinking. Click here to download the packets.
  5. Summer Reading Challenge: CommonLit is offering an online, completely free reading challenge to keep children actively reading this summer. They will provide participating families and their children with free, high-interest reading lists curated by their team of former teachers. Simply click here to sign up for CommonLit’s Summer Reading Challenge and scroll down to the section titled “Sign your child up for CommonLit’s Summer Reading Challenge”.
  6. Middle School Engaging Reads: If you want to choose a high interest book for your middle school reader and don’t feel like a long search, here are three books that are engaging and good reads (and they also happen to be required summer reading in some of our Independence Mission Schools). For sixth grade, consider The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. For seventh grade, consider The Lost Boys of Sudan: An American Story of the Refugee Experience by Ellen Raskin. Lastly, for eighth grade, consider I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafza. These texts are sure to engage your child – and if you have time, consider reading and discussing them together.

I hope that these free resources provide you with plenty of material to keep your kids enjoying reading this summer! It is my sincere hope that they find a book that they love so much that they don’t want to put it down when their reading time is up. Remember that not only are you setting them up for success in the classroom, but you are laying the foundation for them to become a lifelong learner!