How To Make Summer Reading Fun for Kids

School is almost out for the summer and that means it's time to think of ways to make reading fun while they are on break. Some kids love to find new books to read or look forward to flipping the pages of an old favorite. Other kids need some encouragement, incentives, and fun ideas to prompt them to continue reading during their summer vacation. Today I am sharing a list of ideas that I think will make reading fun during summer.

make summer reading fun for kids

Research has shown that during summer break, children lose a portion of their learning during and when they return to school they are behind. The "summer slide" can be prevented or lessened though with children reading a variety of books during their summer break.

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For example, my oldest daughter left 2nd grade at a low 3rd grade reading level. All summer long she read a variety of books - early chapter books, graphic novels, as well as books from the non-fiction section of differing topics that interested her (fashion, cooking, ocean animals, and the Bermuda Triangle). When reading testing in 3rd grade began to determine what level she was reading at, the teacher did the test twice because of unexpected results. Instead of being at a lower level as they had expected, she was at a 4th grade reading level already. The teacher told me that generally children lose about 2-3 reading levels during the summertime.

choose an assortment of books to read for summer

So what can you do to encourage their mind to keep working during the summer? Summer school is not the only option! Making reading a part of their summer is an easy way to continue their learning. Having a mixture of fiction and non-fiction books is a perfect balance. Do your kids love to read chapter books about dogs, fairies, princesses, mystical animals, magic, space, or travel? Let them read their chapter books, then head over to the non-fiction section of your favorite bookstore or library and pick a few books from that topic too.

How to Make Summer Reading Fun for Kids

  • Make reading a positive experience. Don't make it a chore or a "have to", let them know that they get to read. Changing that one phrase will make it a positive experience instead of a dreaded one.
  • Bring out their favorites. During school, kids have to constantly read books that challenge them and sometimes their options at school aren't their favorites. Let them read their favorite books and series, even if it's a bit below their reading level. They are still practicing their fluency and building confidence.
  • Have a fun reading spot. Let them build a fort with blankets, make a pile of pillows in their closet, take a blanket outside, set up a tent in the backyard, or a special spot on the couch. Having a fun and comfortable area where they can go to read will encourage them to go there more often.

create a cozy reading nook for kids

  • Branch out from books. Sign up for some fun kids magazines (Lego, National Geographic Kids, Zoobooks, Disney FamilyFun for Kids, Yum Fun and Food for Kids), buy some comic books, check out an audio book, find interactive digital books.
  • Visit the library. They can get recommendations from the librarian, look at fun book displays, participate in  reading activities, and sign up for the summer reading program.
  • Online Resources. Most libraries have an online program where kids can download digital books or audio books to a tablet. Our library has Overdrive and it has so many options for books, audio books, magazines, and read along books for younger readers. Schools use online programs as well - Raz Kids and Imagine Learning for example.
  • Read as a family. Take some time in the evenings to read a book together as a family. It shows that you value reading, as well as making sure you have some special family time each night. We have read The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, A Wrinkle in Time, and this year we are going to read A Series of Unfortunate Events.
  • Sign up for summer reading programs. There are plenty of options for kids to earn free books, play online reading games, and receive other small prizes. You can find links to different programs here. My kids generally earn 2 free books, small prizes, and love to play the online games.
  • Rewards for reading. The summer reading programs will have some rewards, but you can also do them in your own home too with small prizes. A trip to the Dollar Tree, ice cream with Mom, a new container of Play-Doh or a Hot Wheel Car, a trip to the park, or a free book. You can do a fun Reading Bingo, print out a reading chart, or just keep track on your calendar.

I hope that a few of these ideas are useful to you. If there is something else that works for you, I would love to hear about it in the comments.
encourage summer reading for kids in fun ways

1 comment

  1. I just saw this on Pinterest. I'm amazes at how much your daughter increased her reading level!!! Kudos to both of you. I hop she continues to read this summer, too.


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