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Summer Reading Resources for Parents, Educators, and Students

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Summer reading provides one important avenue for combating the well-documented learning loss that plagues students in the summer months.

Schoolwide reading challenges, programs, or assignments can help to promote enthusiastic student summer-reading participation. The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, launched earlier this month, offers resources for student, educators, and parents to encourage and track summer reading.

The program, which runs through Sept. 5, is out to set a world record for summer reading--the 2013 record was 176 million minutes. For educators looking to encourage summer reading, the Scholastic website shares eight tips from Sylvia Ibarra, the principal of the 2013 Summer Challenge-winning school. 

For an all-inclusive approach to tracking, providing, and recommending summer reading materials to students, the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) recently announced an online reading service to provide digital access to reading materials for students in seven cities.

School Library Journal offers even more detailed instructions for creating a "knockout" summer literacy program. 

Many bookstores and other corporate entities offer programs to track and reward summer reading.  Barnes & Noble allows kids to earn a free book (selected from a "Reading Journal" list) when they read and record eight books in a dedicated reading journal.  Other reading reward programs such as Chuck E. Cheese's reading rewards calendar and Pizza Hut's Book It offer kids rewards for achieving reading goals.

To encourage intrinsic motivations for reading that extend beyond (potentially counterproductive) extrinsic rewards, parents and educators may find community encouragement helpful in affirming the value of reading. Many public libraries offer book clubs and dedicated summer reading programs for children and teens. Biblionasium, often called "Goodreads for kids" offers an online community for K-8 students to share book recommendations and track their reading. 

For individual book recommendations, Publisher's Weekly has already started speculating on the "best books" of the summer in several categories, including young adult, middle grade, and picture books. The American Library Association also released recommended reading lists for K-8 students. And, of course, librarians are often happy to provide personalized reading suggestions. 

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