Tips and Advice

Download our summer guide

The Reading for Berkeley 2024 summer reading activities and tips guide is full of online free (or nearly free) resources that you can use to keep learning this summer. Find links to learning activities, services, and book lists, plus the content below.

Simple ways to keep on reading and writing this summer!

Build regular practice into your summer routine, and help keep ‘summer slump’ away. Celebrate your family’s passions and find strengths and interests to build upon. Try to make reading enjoyable at home — read together daily, and use technology like Hoopla and Bookshare to help! 

Seize opportunities for your student to read out loud and write by hand 

These two practices strengthen the “reading circuit” in the brain and improve automaticity and fluency. So: 

Students get better at reading and writing by reading and writing. Writing by hand builds neural circuitry much more effectively than typing or texting.

Build strong decoding skills 

Take a few minutes to read aloud together every day. Use a notecard, ruler, or other straight edge below a line of text to help a student focus on only the words being read. When a word is challenging, help them to read one syllable (chunk) at a time, building the word step by step. Encourage reading every sound, not just guessing based on the first letter or few letters.

Build vocabulary and knowledge

Find out what your student is interested in and go deep. Find books in the library about the subject. Embrace their interests and use it as an avenue for building deep knowledge and advanced vocabulary. Talk about the books you read, and what you’ve learned as a family. 


Curious to know more about what is challenging for your student, beyond the information provided by the school assessments? Dig deeper. You can give an at-home assessment like or (if your student is willing!) to get a better sense of how well they can read simple and complex words, and particularly what phonics patterns they may still need to practice.

Support a struggling reader

Download the full summer guide

TIP: Load up some podcasts for when you’re on the road and listen together. 

Some great family-friendly ones are:

The Past and the Curious (Mick Sullivan)

The Ten News (Common Sense Media)

Stuff you should know (for older kids, from iHeart media)

Looking for a detailed guide to navigating the educational system? 

All of Reading for Berkeley's guides


Summer activity guide

Full of online free (or nearly free) resources that you can use to keep learning this summer. Find links to learning activities, services, and tips.


How to get help from school

Read this comprehensive guide to understand your family educational rights and how to use them to help your child learn in school. 


Get BUSD test scores

Find out what tests are given to all Berkeley Unified School District K-8 students and how to access those scores for your student.