Dive Into Summer Literacy

Grade 3

Keep Reading Motivation High

8 Ideas for Keeping Reading Motivation High


By Lori Sabo

We want our students to finish the year deeply engaged with self-selected texts, maintaining a sense of urgency about the importance of their reading lives. These eight ideas will help keep interest high until the last bell of the school year rings.


Tidy the Tubs

Give everyone a book tub and a few minutes to straighten it. Students check to see if all the books in the tub belong there, return misplaced books to their correct homes, and tidy it up by making sure all the covers face front. This brief activity accomplishes two things: the library gets a quick cleanup, and interest in books is generated. It isn’t uncommon to hear “Oh! I want to read this!” or “_______, you would love this book because you are interested in books about _________.”

Student Book Talks

Student recommendations can be highly efficient ways to increase interest.

Teacher Book Talks

Grab a stack of books you believe students will love. Briefly tell about the plot or read the blurb about each one. Ask who wants it. If more than one person wants it, put names on a sticky note. Students will pass it to the next person on the list when they are finished.

Teacher Recommendations

When we know who they are as people and as readers, it becomes second nature to match our students with books, especially when we are voracious readers of children’s literature ourselves. Students are often highly motivated to read a book when it's accompanied by the words, "I found this book and thought of you."

Add Variety

Bring in newspapers, poetry, graphic novels, and magazines.

Book Trade

If you do not have an extensive library and students are ready for some new material, do a temporary trade with another teacher. Swap tubs for a month.

Public Library

Bring new choices in by borrowing books from the public library. The librarian can suggest titles and authors for your age group.

Read Around

Read Around is an idea that came from Steven Layne and is one of our favorites. Students get to preview a book or magazine for about a minute. When you say, “Pass,” they pass the book to someone else. Students add items they are interested in to their “want to read” list.


It doesn’t take a lot of time or a lot of money to keep motivation high. These ideas will help your readers stay highly engaged until they have to leave you for the summer.

Parent Tips for Summer Reading

  • Keep books in the car, in the beach bag, and your child's sports bag

  • Connect reading to summer activities (For example: read books about places your family will go or activities that you will do together)

  • Let your children see you read (For example: read the newspaper in the morning or take a magazine from the rack at the doctor's office)

  • Reward reading with more reading (For example: if your child finishes one book, take a trip to the local library and let them pick out another)

Five Finger Rule for Summer Reading

Help your child select books on topics he/she is interested in. A simple rule of thumb for helping your child select books is to choose a page in the book (not the first one) and read it. If they don't know five or more words, then the book is too hard for pleasure reading.


MTPL Supports Summer Reading

The Middletown Public Library supports students' summer reading in a variety of ways. They have copies of our summer reading lists and set up displays of those books. They have their own summer reading program, Build a Better World Summer Reading Program, with activities and prizes. Can't get to the library? Not a problem. The library supports reading through their Hoopla link. Grab your library card, click on the link to Hoopla and gain access to e-books, audio books and much more. Happy Summer Reading!