10 Ways to Encourage Kids to Read (and Love It!) This Summer

By Melanie Norman

Reading - Book

Summer is in full swing! The temperatures are rising, longer days mean more time outdoors and students everywhere are hanging up their backpacks as an adieu to the days of waking up early for school. Summer camps, baseball, swimming classes are now on a weekly rotation, and if your kids are anything like mine you are also frequenting the grocery store a little bit more to replenish those summer snacks! 

However, there are too many kids who end up forgetting all they have learned in school during the summer. My grandmother would always tell me, “If you don’t use it, you lose it!” and would hand me a bag full of books that she expected for me to read before the summer was over. Studies have shown that children who don’t read over the summer regress. Those reading skills that teachers worked hard to instill, start to decline over the summer. 

Children who continue to read throughout the summer, actually improve in reading. Reading as a family is easy to add to the list of summer activities and children actually enjoy having the time to spend together as a family. 

10 Ways to Encourage Kids to Read (and Love It!) This Summer

1. Schedule a Family Reading Time 

Summer Reading is an activity the entire family can get in on! Try one night a week putting down the iPhones, turning off the TVs, powering down the Xbox (or in my son’s case Fortnite), and have everyone pick a good book or magazine to read for about 15-20 mins. Modeling is always more powerful than just telling your family to read! By implementing a family reading time, you are showing your kids that you enjoy reading and look forward to it every day. If your family cultivates a love of reading, chances are your children will love reading too. 

2. Join the Club! 

One of the reasons children share why they don’t enjoy reading is that it often can feel lonely. A way to make reading more fun and social is to arrange/create a book club. Have your child reach out to his/her friends, or connect with the parents as set out to read a book of their choice each month. Then host a fun afternoon get-together or even a sleepover at your home for the book club participants to share their favorite yummy snacks and to share their favorite parts of the book! 

3. Explore “You Can Do Books”

Have a child that’s into cooking? Encourage your child to read cookbooks and create a summer dish for the family! Does your child love to learn about dinosaurs? Share books with your child on dinosaur bone excavation and maybe even create a mini excavation sand table for them to find and uncover things. Use your child’s favorite hobby as a jumping-off point to encourage reading! Find books on their favorite hobby and ask your children to share what they learn with you! 

4. Lights! Camera! Action! Make a Reader’s Theater 

Bring the characters from the books your child reads to life by reenacting scenes from their favorite parts of the book. Be creative and use any props you have in your home, use your best funny voice, stay in character the entire day—the goal is for your children to get excited and engaged in the story. Children can learn how to make a deeper connection to what they are reading by imagining themselves in the roles of their favorite character in the book.

5. Take Your Pick! 

Find a good book with your child to read, it can either be a good book you want to read with your kids or it could be a book they want to read to you! During the school year, it can be hard to find time to complete an entire book, but with the slower pace of the summer months, it can be easier. Pick a chapter a day to sit and read with your child.

RELATED POST: 15 Books to Read Aloud With Your Kids this Summer

6. Switch Up The Location

Sometimes where you read plays a HUGE difference in actually wanting to read. My oldest daughter enjoys being outside on a warm sunny day laying on a blanket reading a book while my youngest daughter enjoys curling up on her bed while reading a book. Try helping your children find a new location for reading! 

7. Facetime Storytime

Facetime Grandma or your favorite Aunt and let them know you are cordially invited to a facetime storytime! Have your child pick their favorite book or chapter in a book and choose a time to have a facetime storytime with a family member. Several different studies show that reading out loud can help kids gain confidence and fluency in reading. 

8. Summer Reading Program 

Whether your kids love to read or if it’s a struggle to get them to read, a Summer Reading Program is a great way to promote summer reading. These programs can have a great influence on getting kids to read. If your local bookstore or library doesn’t have a program, you can create one on your own! A fun sticker chart with incentives (such as eat dessert first coupons or a trip to the toy aisle at Target) could be all that is needed for reading fun this summer.  

9. Movie To Book 

There has been a significant rise in books being turned into movies. Plan a fun movie night for the entire family after your child has completed reading the book. During your movie night and in between munching on popcorn, compare and contrast the movie with the book.

10. Celebrate!

Celebrate the completion of a book! Have a summer reading party celebrating your child’s accomplishment of completing the book they read over the summer. 

Happy Reading!