Five Ways to Build Life-Long Readers


Summer is a critical time for students. During the summer months, students are at risk of losing some of what they learned during the school year including how to read. According to Oxford Learning, two months of reading skills are lost during the summer. By fifth grade, students can fall up to three grades behind in reading.

“One of the best ways to prevent students from falling behind is to promote reading on a year-round basis,” says Cheryl Adkins, program director for YouthQuest. “We want to provide students with every opportunity to thrive academically. Giving them access to books is one way we can do that.”

Students enrolled in Summer YouthQuest will be encouraged to read through Drop Everything And Read (DEAR), which will dedicate 30 minutes every day to reading. The program will provide more than 3,000 books for students to read during program or to check out and read at home. Books provided are at all reading levels and on a variety of subjects.

Parents can also help combat summer reading loss by encouraging their students to read for a half hour every day. Here are five ways parents can promote reading at home:

  1. Ask your child to read a story with you. Reading together is a powerful tool in motivating your child to read. Whether you are listening to an audiobook together or helping your child read out loud, performing the task together makes it fun and exciting.
  2. Attend a story time. Local businesses and organizations such as the Flint Public Library and Totem Books host story time free for local children. Putting your child in an environment where others are also engaged in a story encourages them to want to read more.
  3. Participate in a summer reading program. Business like Barnes & Noble run programs that allow youth to earn prizes by reading during the summer. On July 12 – 15, The Flint & Genesee Literacy Network will host Summer Learning Days, providing different summer learning opportunities through a series of activities, classes and events. You can also create your own summer reading challenge and give out prizes for each book your student reads.
  4. Let your child choose his/her own books. When kids have the power to choose what they want to read, they are more likely to read. Bring your child to your local library and have them choose books that they want to read.
  5. Bring the books to life. Bringing a book into the real world on onto the screen can help foster a love for reading. Have your child read books that have been made into movies such as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” or “Bridge to Terabithia.” Or, find an activity that corresponds with the book they are reading. For example, if your child is reading the “Magic Tree House” series, consider taking them to For-Mar Nature Preserve and Arboretum to explore a real-life tree house.

YouthQuest is made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

Stay up to date on YouthQuest by following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.