Teaching our kids to love reading is super important. Learn how to make summer reading fun for your kids with a little brainstorming and a free printable.
Reading is a huge part of our home and family life. I’m a firm believer in creating a culture of reading in the home and the benefits that come from those efforts (if you want to learn more about this, I highly recommend reading The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah MacKenzie).
In order to do this, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying to make reading fun and exciting and special–something my kids look forward to. I want my kids to see the magic in books, not just think of them as something they have to do for school.
How to Make Summer Reading Fun
This year, I wanted to try a different approach to summer reading. I’ve done rewards systems in the past, which have been great, but I wanted to try another angle this year.
Instead of a rewards system, I created a Summer Reading Fun Schedule–a weekly rotation of book related activities!
For instance, here is my planned schedule:
- Monday: Yummy Snack
- Tuesday: Book Chat
- Wednesday: Book Activity
- Thursday: Library Trip
- Friday: Learn Something New
- Saturday: Read in a New or Fun Spot
- Sunday: Family Reading Time
Let me give a few details or ideas of what I plan to do for each one.
Eat a yummy snack while we read! This can correspond to the book we’re reading, or just be a treat I don’t normally get for the kids.
If you do this and your kids are reading on their own, make sure you get a fairly clean snack or treat, so they don’t get melted chocolate or sticky-gooeyness all over your books.
If you’re reading aloud while they eat, make it as messy as you want! In fact, the messier, the better. Kids LOVE messy snacks!
Spend some time at dinner chatting about books. Discuss our current reads, talk about favorite books or recommendations, plan upcoming reads or book activities, etc. This is also a great time to do book club style chats about our family read aloud. But mostly, I just want to get the kids talking about books!
I love doing corresponding activities with my kids after reading a book. I have a whole series about this on my blog that I recently started called Simple Fun with Books. You can visit that link for inspiration.
But basically I just think up a simple craft, snack, or activity that goes along with the book I just read, then complete it! This helps makes books FUN for kids! They look forward to it, and have even started coming up with activity ideas themselves!
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but for this activity, we’ll go to the library. My kids each have their own library card, so the night before, I’ll have them pick which books they’ve finished and want to return, pack their library tote, and put it in the car. Then it’s all ready to go when we head to the library!
We usually spend some time browsing for books. Then the kids play and do some of the activities there. We love playing at the library! Then we pick-up any books we put on hold and check everything out.
I also want to spend some time this summer teaching my kids all about how to find books in the library.
Learn Something New
This is a fun one! On this day, I’ll encourage nonfiction reading. Books, magazines, articles on the internet–anything goes! They can choose a subject and learn about it, ask and question and find the answer, or just pick-up some nonfiction and start reading.
Read in a New or Fun Spot
Changing up your reading location is super fun for kids! Ideas include:
- By the pool
- At the park
- In Mom & Dad’s bed
- In a fort
- At the library
- In the car
- At a friend’s house
- In the backyard
- On vacation
- At the grocery store
- Under a tree
- At Grandma and Grandpa’s house
- Under the kitchen table
- On the stairs
- In a closet
Kids LOVE doing silly things! Make reading fun by having them come up with the most unique place they can think of to read!
Family Reading Time
Sit down as a family and spend a half hour (or more) reading together! We may use this time to get ahead on our read-aloud or we might have everyone read quietly in a room together. We use a book on cd or audiobook app for our non-reader.
Many libraries have books with cds available, so littles can look at pictures while they listen. Some apps do the same thing on a tablet!
Making Reading Fun
Changing up the reading routine makes it fun for kids, and that’s the ultimate goal! We want our kids to cultivate a love of reading, not just view it as a chore or something they have to do. Studies have shown that kids who love to read and do it for fun are better readers than kids who only view reading as an academic task.
Helping our kids learn to love reading is really important!
Other Ideas for Summer Reading
Other ideas you could use for your rotation:
- A different genre each day of the week
- A new location each day of the week
- A different snack each day of the week
- Give each kid a day (or two) of the week when they get to choose which picture books you read out loud
- Alternate book format each day (audiobook, parent reads aloud, read on own, kids read to each other, picture book, magazine, etc.)
- Watch a movie based on a book one day a week
- Write your own book one day a week (work on it a little one day a week to create a book of your summer)
- Act like a book character
- Read Out Loud (have the readers read to the non-readers in your home)
- Audiobook Day
- Share a book with a friend day (either read with a friend or recommend a book to a friend)
- Read to Grandma and Grandpa day (record your kid reading and send it to their grandparents)
- Bookstore Day (visit the bookstore and together as a family pick out a new book to add to your collection)
- Book Game (play a book themed game, like this Book Themed Scavenger Hunt or a family spin on this Book Hook Battle Date Night)
This may sounds like a lot, but I’m focusing on SIMPLICITY in each day. A yummy snack means buying Red Vines at the start of the summer, then handing them a couple every Monday while they read. Book chat means talking about books during dinner time instead of other things. Reading in a fun spot requires very little effort. We’re reading anyway, so why not take the books outside?
My advice is to choose things that feel easy and doable for you and your family! If you don’t ever go to the library, that might not be the best choice to add to your weekly rotation. We go every other week right now, so moving it to weekly feels doable for me. But choose things that feel doable for you!
It doesn’t have to be big to be memorable. Even the smallest things can have a big impact on a child. The important thing is that you get them to read and have a little fun while doing it.
Summer Reading Plan
I created this summer reading plan printable for you to create your reading schedule. Download your free printable here or by clicking on the image below.
Simply put your daily idea in the first row of each column, then track it over the summer!
This chart allows for a 12-week summer. If your summer is shorter (like ours is), simply skip the last couple of rows. You can print one for the whole family or print one per kid.
You can use the chart a few different ways:
- Cross off each day as it’s completed
- Use a sticker
- Write in what they did for reading that day
- Record what book(s) they read that day
- Log how long they read for that day
How do you make reading fun in your house?
For more summer reading ideas, check out my Encouraging Summer Reading post.