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5 Tips for Surviving Summer Reading Assignments

Lora Wegman, writer for Varsity Tutors, shares her tips on tackling summer reading assignments.

By
Varsity Tutors, as read by Mignon Fogarty,
June 13, 2018

If you’re like many high school students this summer, you’re facing the task of reading at least one book as a summer reading assignment before heading back to school in the fall. But there’s no need to stress—whether you have to read one book or several, there are ways to stay motivated and to keep your summer reading assignment from sneaking up on you at the last minute.

If you’re worried about surviving summer reading assignments, don’t panic. Here are five tips to stay on top of your assigned reading this summer:

1. Take your summer reading on the go.

Think of summer reading as a homework assignment that you don’t have to do while sitting at your desk. Reading an assigned book can essentially be done anywhere—in a hammock, poolside, or in bed, for instance. Get a copy of your book early in the summer, and keep it somewhere you won’t forget about it. If you’re going on vacation, take your reading assignments with you there, too. You never know when you might have free time. Regardless of where you read, make sure you bring a notebook or some other device to take notes as you go.

2. If you have a choice, make it a thoughtful one.

You may be assigned a certain book to read, or you may have a list to choose from. If you’re lucky enough to have a choice, pick a book that fits the type of reading you naturally gravitate toward. Do you prefer science fiction, historical fiction, nonfiction, or poetry when you’re reading for fun? Whatever you like, look for something that fits that interest in some way. It will make it much easier for you to stay motivated and to enjoy your summer reading assignment.

3. Understand the assignment before you start your summer reading.

Make sure you fully comprehend what’s expected from the assignment before you start reading. You don’t want to get halfway through the book, for example, only to realize you were supposed to have been writing daily journal entries about it from the start. Like with any school assignment, the first and most important step is to understand the assignment’s directions.

4. Take time to analyze what you’re reading.

Depending on your assignment, you might have to write something or participate in a discussion about the book when school starts. This will be a lot easier if you take notes while you read, especially if you get your reading done early. Make note of interesting character traits, themes, important quotes, or other items that stand out to you. Additionally, if you have to write a summary to submit before or when school starts, don’t put it off—it will be much easier to write when you’ve just finished the reading.

5. Be mindful of deadlines.

Plan out how much reading you need to get done by certain dates. The last thing you want is to be stuck cramming in your summer reading the last week of summer. Look at your calendar and make a reasonable goal for start, middle, and end dates of each book you’re reading over the summer. Figure out how many pages you will need to read on average per day to keep yourself on track and finish your summer reading assignments strong. Good luck, and happy summer reading!

Lora Wegman is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.