Tech-Inspired Ideas for Students' Summer Reading

Take advantage of your students' passion for tech and introduce them to these great reading apps and websites.

May 24, 2017
Erin Wilkey Oh Executive Editor, Education Marketing
Common Sense Education

CATEGORIES Out-of-School Learning, Parents and Families

Summer is just around the corner! What a perfect time for kids to get swept away in the plot of a great page-turner. Our 2014 research report, Children, Teens, and Reading, shows that adolescents aren't reading much for fun; a third of 13-year-olds and 45% of 17-year-olds say they've read for pleasure one to two times a year, if that. However, we know that kids read on their devices all the time -- whether to check their social media feeds, look up a random fact on Wikipedia, or keep up with text messages from friends.

Take advantage of your students' passion for tech and introduce them to ereader apps like iBooks, Nook, or Kindle. Consider including a link to our Essential Books for Kids and Teens in your end-of-the-year email to parents. Parents can help kids find a good read from the library or bookstore to download onto their devices. In addition, before they take off for the summer, consider sharing these apps and sites that support reading for fun. 



This safe, simple social network lets kids share their reading success with friends, creating healthy competition and confidence. Read full review.


Kids-only social network gives students a safe space to connect, allows students to showcase and share their reading progress. Read full review.


Fantastic digital library service provides a powerful sense of independence for students with print-related disabilities. Read full review.


Epic! - Unlimited Books for Kids

This large collection of books and videos on a wide variety of topics is an easy -- and free -- enhancement to any classroom library. Read full review.


Lively community for bookworms can enhance teens' reading experience and help them become thoughtful, enthusiastic readers. Read full review.

Harry Potter Reading Club

With activities, discussion questions, and lots of free access to the books, this site is a great place for Harry Potter fans new and old. Read full review.


Safe, fun environment allows YA lovers to read their favorite books while learning how to discuss literature. Read full review.


Up-to-date, high-interest articles meet kids right at their levels -- a great tool to bolster kids' nonfiction reading practice. Read full review.

Reading Rainbow Skybrary Family

Vast book and video library is a wonderful and practical way to get kids excited about learning and reading. Read full review.


This fantastic platform encourages social reading among friends and family near and far. Read full review.


Colleen Goodwin
Media specialist/librarian
Cheektowaga Central High School (Cheektowaga, NY)

Overdrive is used by the Buffalo & Erie County Public Libraries and our school district. It is a great resource for downloading e-books and audiobooks. If you have a Buffalo & Erie County Public Library card you can access all the e-books and audiobooks they own. In addition, our District, students can access approximately 150 e-books and audiobooks (just got Overdrive this school year). Overdrive truly makes downloading or reading books (audiobooks) in your browser easy. They do take the device out of the equation, it doesn't matter what device you are using as long as you have Internet access originally when downloading your e-book or audiobook (IPAD, IPOD, Kindle, Booknooks, IPHONE, Android Phone, etc.). I recently found out that you can read an e-book offline on an IPAD without Internet access with the Overdrive Media Council App. This is a great way to read e-books during the summer while traveling or at the beach where there is no Internet access. Students love using technology, it makes reading more fun and interactive. No more are the days when you have to look up words you don't know in the dictionary, Overdrive's dictionary is integrated into the e-books. If you don't know a word, simply click on it and the definitions appear like magic. Overdrive also includes a highlighting and bookmarking tool. If you haven't yet experimented with reading on Overdrive, you haven't lived - It has re-inspired me!

Gaby March
Classroom teacher
Sanchez (George I.) Elementary School
Rosemead, CA

Hi.  These resources sound great! I'm very interested in Bookopolis because not only is it a safe place for kids to share, but also awards them badges which may motivate some students. Children should be able to choose what they want to read for fun and get credit for it at the same time.  Often, kids are forced to read what the school/teacher/state decides which takes the fun out of reading.  A friend of mine also shared another cool app called Epic which is free and offers books in English and Spanish.

Valerie  Hecht
Technology coordinator
Wemrock Brook Elementary School
Manalapan, NJ

This is a great collection for summer reading! I've seen Reading Rainbow's site but the others are new to me. I like the idea that there are incentives for reading (reminds me of my library summer reading club back in the day!) which should motivate the most reluctant readers! Can't wait to share them with teachers in my district!