Reading Tips: How to Get More From Your Summer Reading

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Summer reading is extremely important for students who want to do well in school. We want to help you make the most of your reading so we’ve put together a few tips that can really help. We also made a Summer Reading Checklist that you can download and print out to help you keep track of your accomplishments and improve your reading comprehension skills.

Planning

As with any project, successful results come from careful planning and hard work. Once you get your summer reading list from your teacher or find one online, plan out how much you expect to read each week. Make a schedule and stick to it!

Note Taking

If you own the books you are reading, learn how to take notes in them, so you can go back and reference them later. At the end of each chapter, make a few bullet points about the most important events or developments. This brief summary of each chapter can help you track the progress of characters or events in the book.

If you are borrowing the books you are reading, or if you don’t like writing in your books, keep a few blank pages of paper nearby so you can make notes as you read. Be sure to put the title of the book on each piece of paper so that you know what the notes are for. At the beginning of each note, write down the page number of the book that you are making notes about so you can find it or refer to it later. When you have finished reading the book, put your notes in a folder so you can find them easily later.

Vocabulary

Be sure to circle or write down new or difficult words that you may need to look up. It’s a good idea to keep a separate piece of paper to help you keep track of new words and write down the definitions.

Signposts

Educators have developed some important tools for developing reading comprehension skills in students from the 4th to 7th grade. They call them signposts. Younger students can learn these ideas too and begin to get more from their reading. As you are reading, be sure to think about each of these six signposts. Here is a short summary of what to look for.

Contrasts and Contradictions
Has a character done something different from what you would expect? Why do you think the character is doing that?

Words of the Wiser
Do any of the characters give the main character advice? Are they someone older or wiser? What advice did they give? How it will affect the character’s life or decisions?

Again and Again
Do events or unusual words appear in the book more than once? Why? What was the author trying to accomplish with the repetition?

Memory Moment
Sometimes the book’s action is interrupted and the author or a character shares a memory. Why is the memory important? Does it change how you feel or think about anything?

Aha! Moment
Does a character suddenly realize something or figure something out? How will that moment change things?

Tough Questions
Do any of the characters ask themselves a tough question? What does the tough question make you think about? What would you do in that situation?

These six signposts can help you learn to get more from your reading, but they are just the beginning for serious readers. Take the time to look online if you are curious about reading signposts or other strategies for improving your reading comprehension skills.

Twice Is Nice

If you have the time and interest to really dig deep, reading a book twice can be very helpful. The first time you read a book your brain is trying to figure out what will happen next. When you reread a book your brain knows what is going to happen so it is free to pay more attention to the details like how the author is telling the story, the choice of words, the pacing of events and signposts and much more.

Books are a form of storytelling. Learning the stories is interesting, but you can also start to learn how to tell a good story. By looking at what successful authors have done you can see what it takes to tell a story well.

These simple tips can open the doors to a lifetime of reading enjoyment. Be sure to download our helpful Summer Reading Checklist materials so that you can get the most out of your reading time this summer… and happy reading!

We recommend using Hammermill® Copy Plus 20 lb. printer paper for printing our Reading Checklists.

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