Summer Reading Tips for ELLs

Summer Reading Tips for ELLs

summer reading

One of the best ways to improve reading comprehension and vocabulary development is to READ. The summer is the perfect time for students to read for pleasure. The challenge is convincing reluctant readers to pick up a book when they are not in school.

Encourage Reading in their Native Language

If your ELLs are literate in another language then the summer is a great time for them to practice reading in that language. If parents are literate encourage them to read to their child in their native language. This helps to improve the child native language literacy skills and English skills at the same time. Biliteracy is a bit assess for students.

  • Many libraries have bilingual sections.
  • If students have access to technology, the International Children’s Digital Library has free ebooks of books in a wide range of languages. Including some less common languages. Unite for Literacy has ebooks in English and Spanish. There are audio recordings for the books.

Showcase New Books

Remind students that the summer is a great time to read about anything they want. Before students leave for the summer highlight some new books that are available at the public library. If you do not own the books you can create a quick digital display by showing the cover of books and then giving a short book talk.

Audio Books

Listening to fluent reading is a great way for ELLs to practice English during the summer. Most public libraries allow users to borrow audio books. Some libraries even have a small collection of books with built in speakers.

Library Summer Reading Program

Many public libraries have a summer reading program. Typically, children record the title of the books that they read and then turn in the list for a prize and/or take part in a celebration. This might provide the extra motivational push that some ELLs need to continue reading over the summer.

Books as Gifts 

Giving ELLs a book of their own makes a great end of the year gift. Some ideas for getting free or low cost books are:

  • Use scholastic book points
  • Ask families for donations of books they no longer use
  • Thrift stores/yard sales
  • See if you are eligible to partner with First Books
  • Donors Choose

Review Book Genres

Your ELLs may not be aware of the different topics they can find a book about. A quick overview of books in your classroom library/the school library might spark interest in books a student didn’t know was there. Some students are more interested in nonfiction. Magazines or How-to books are great ideas for students that do not enjoy reading fiction.

Summer Themed Books 

Take advantage of summer excitement by highlighting books about the season.
Here is a list of summer-themed books from around the world to share with students.

Additional Resources

Colorin Colorado has summer learning resources for parents, including many about reading.


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