Summer reading was my favorite part of summers as a kid!
For all students, summer reading is a time where they get to read just for fun! School can be challenging for aspiring readers because in school, they often don’t get to choose their own books. My school had kids read within their AR levels for independent reading.
But there is something innately special about reading with no expectations behind it.
However, sometimes kids don’t know *how* to read for fun! Any mention of reading can cause moans and groans and cries of: “But it’s SUMMER!” But there is hope!
Here are my top tips for helping kids to get into summer reading to avoid the summer slide!
1. Say goodbye to the Summer Slide! Get your kiddo their own library card!
As you probably know, kids love being independent. Most libraries give the option of letting students have their own library card! They can pick out their own card, choose their own books, and even learn how to check out those books on their own!
The important stuff like billing and keeping an eye on what’s been checked out can be connected to an adult account. But the excitement of having your own card is so fun as a kid!
Public libraries are a parent’s lifesaver in the summer. Suppose your kids are begging to go to the library because of their own cards. In that case, you get to enjoy some time in free AC while your kids look around for books and read them in the entertaining areas most libraries have!
Plus, I’m sure there’s a new book you’ve been wanting to read too!
2. Make reading fun!
The most significant part of summer reading is showing kids that reading can be fun! There are so many things you can do at home to reflect that.
One idea is to have a read-a-thon. My sisters and I would create these ALL THE TIME! We would plan out an entire day to just read together. Even our mom joined in on the fun! She helped us make snacks and fun drinks to fuel our day. Our favorites were popcorn and lemonade!
Be creative with anything you do!
Take a trip to the local park to eat Lunchables and read on the grass.
Drive to a pretty overlook and read in the car with music playing in the background.
Run to the dollar store and let each kid choose a treat to snack on while they read.
The possibilities are endless!
3. Let students pick out whatever reading material they want!
When they get to choose their books, most kids seem to gravitate towards Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. They are designed for kids, full of adventure, and great reads.
However, there may be a time when a kid brings back a Food Network magazine or a book on sea slugs! This might seem super weird, but try not to discourage them! Any reading is good, and if they enjoy it, it has so many benefits!
4. Utilize your local public library’s summer reading program!
My library had a great summer reading program called “Read Your Way to the Ballpark.” We would track the books we read and get little prizes, but the grand prize was baseball tickets! Thanks to our teacher mom, we stuck to reading every day and celebrated with a family baseball game once we all completed the program!
My library still has a program where you log your minutes read (online!!). After enough points, you get prizes like a burrito at Chipotle, a snow cone at the local shop, and the grand prize, a free book! This program is for ALL AGES, making it an activity for the whole family!
This helps save time, money, and energy on creating incentives for your kiddos! You can still use incentives for daily reading, but this negates any necessity! Just Google your local library summer reading program for instructions to sign up!
5. Create a designated “reading nook!”
I’ve never met a kid that didn’t create forts during the summer. It is a total mess and sometimes takes over an entire room, but they have so much fun making them!!
A reading nook is a more controlled, constant version of that. Using things in the house, you can make a fun space for your kids to read every day!
First, you should work together to designate the reading spot or spots. If the kiddos each have their own rooms, they can each make a “reading corner” that is all their own! Mine was a combination of blankets and a sleeping bag on the floor of my closet…no, it wasn’t a walk-in!!) Some other places could be a windowsill, a corner of a living room, or anywhere that can be taken over for the summer.
When you choose a place, fill it with blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, and anything else that could make the space comfortable and fun! Having a special place will help get your kids in the mindset of reading while making reading time memorable and fun!
6. Teach by example.
I tend to forget during the school year, when life is crazy, that books aren’t just for kids. There are hundreds of books that we can read over the summer too!
Think about the kind of book you want! Some of my favorites are completely mindless books. Think trashy airport romance novels. Sometimes, you need a break from real life to dive into a book like the ones Chandler’s mom from Friends wrote. Or, you can choose to dive into books to learn more about the world around us! I have recently loved Ruta Sepetys’ novels for eye-opening historical fiction and Ibram X. Kendi’s books for social justice issues!
Besides those, there are tons of different genres to explore. Even Tik Tok has tons of book recommendations! If your kids see you enjoy reading, they might want to model that in their own life!
7. Ensure a “Slide-Free” Summer! Use a reading log to keep track of their books!
Seeing a list fill up with books kids have read is wonderful for them to have a sense of accomplishment and pride in the reading they have done!
Using our free summer reading log, students will be able to show off the hard work they have done! You can put the records on the fridge, encourage your kids to decorate them, and add each book they finish over the summer!
If you do it for years, you can collect the logs and see how the reading styles and preferences grow along with them!
About the Author
Megan Weber is a second-year student at Northern Arizona University pursuing a degree in Elementary Education. She has a passion for teaching that has only grown through her three years of tutoring and a year of curriculum design for Minds in Bloom. She loves math, music, and a cold glass of sweet tea. She hopes to teach middle school math in the near future.