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News | June 12, 2013

Beat the Heat With Free Summer Learning Activities From ReadWriteThink.org


A long break from school can mean that students’ minds melt faster than an ice pop on a hot July day! Beat the heat over the summer with engaging activities from ReadWriteThink.org.

ReadWriteThink.org is proud to be a free resource for teachers, caregivers, and out-of-school practitioners, and our Parent & Afterschool Resources section offers activities, tips, and tools specifically designed for learning outside of the classroom.

Evidence has shown that all students suffer from the “summer slide” if they don’t read and write during the summer break. This is especially true of low-income students who have little access to books in their homes and communities (Neuman & Celano, 2001). Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen have done extensive research on how to address academic setbacks during the summer, particularly of poor students. They recommend that schools consider a summer book distribution program, which can be a “potentially powerful initiative” (2013).

Read For My Summer logo

This summer, ReadWriteThink is pleased to partner with the Pearson Foundation’s We Give Books. Their summer program, Read for My Summer, highlights a book each week in three different age categories (0-3, 4-7, 8-10) that caregivers can read with a child from the free, online We Give Books library. For every book read online, children can elect to donate a book to a selected public library, providing greater access to books for low-income kids.

Each book listing includes fun activities and reading tips to help kids make a deeper connection with what they’ve just read. ReadWriteThink has created new Parent & Afterschool activities to accompany 10 of the highlighted books:

book coverA Dragon’s Fire: From A to Z: Children read about a very special dragon who breathes lots of things—none of them fire. Using the Alphabet Organizer, they identify the objects by their first letter.

Batter Up! Telling Sports Stories With Trading Cards: Summer is the time for baseball! Through the retelling of the 1941 baseball season, children will see two legendary players as characters and can create trading cards that highlight these players.

Can Letters Tell a Story?: Shake up children’s summer reading by introducing them to new and fun formats for storytelling.

Digging for Answers: Become a Dinosaur Word Detective: Explore the mysterious world of dinosaurs by reading about them, solving a crossword puzzle, and building your own puzzle.

Friendship: Exploring Similarities and Differences: After reading a book about friendship, children will reflect on one of their own friendships and look at how they are like their friends and maybe how they are different.

Go Ape With Webcams: Can't make it to a zoo? After reading a book about apes, observe animal habits and habitats using one of the many Webcams broadcasting from zoos and aquariums around the United States and the world.

Postcards From the Trail: After enjoying an online book about traveling west on a wagon train, children create postcards from the point of view of the main character for one or more stops on the journey.

book coverRhyme Time With Madeline: Children love books that rhyme and to create their own rhymes. It’s a fun way to learn how words sound similar to one another!

Star Light, Star Bright: Reading and Writing About the Nighttime Sky: Children watch the nighttime sky come alive as the read an online book about fascinating elements in the night and write a poem/story about the things they learn!

Summer Discoveries: Recapture exciting discoveries by writing poetry about summer adventures from a story and from your own experiences.


Looking for more summer-related activities? Check out ReadWriteThink’s Bright Ideas for Summer< for engaging activities that center on the use of our highly popular student interactive tools.

Bright Ideas



Allington, R.L., & McGill-Franzen, A. (2013, April/May). Eliminating summer reading setback: How we can close the rich/poor reading achievement gap. Reading Today, 10-11.

Neuman, S., & Celano, D. (2001). Access to print in low-income and  middle-income communities. Reading Research Quarterly, 36(1), 8-26.