4 Tips to Keep Your Kids Reading All Summer

By Melissa Hucal May 26, 2021
What are your kids reading this summer?

According to an article from the website,,  students who read consistently over the summer are less likely to experience the “summer slide” and are more prepared for a successful school year in the fall. In fact, studies have shown that reading just six age-appropriate books over the summer can maintain a child’s reading level from the previous school year.

So what can parents do to help keep kids motivated to read over the summer? We’ve got four tips to help make it easy to incorporate reading into your summer.

1. Make (and display!) a “must read” list! Work together at the beginning of the summer to create a list that includes at least six books that are at or a bit above your child’s reading level. Ask your child what subjects he/she is interested in and find books that relate. Ask a teacher or a parent with a child the same age (or a bit older) for recommendations. Print your list (freehand or with the computer) and display it in a place where your child can check off the books as they finish them. BONUS TIP: Create your own reading list, too, to reinforce the importance of reading to your child AND have an excuse to sneak in a couple minutes of “me” time in the process.

2.Join a local reading program or develop your own! Local libraries have summer reading programs that help kids track their reading goals and provided incentives for reaching them, like special parties or tickets to area venues. Participation in these programs is free and, in addition to rewarding reading, libraries usually schedule special programming throughout the summer to supplement the reading program. You can also create your own incentives at home. This can be in place of or in addition to a formal library program. Consider offering coupons for extra video game time, a trip to the ice cream shop or a park excursion in exchange for a specified number of pages or minutes read per week. The promise of prizes can be great motivation for many kids. BONUS TIP: Check with your local library to find out if their summer reading program includes adults. Many don’t have an age restriction on participation and getting involved helps create some accountability for Mom and Dad, too!

3. Create a library space and/or reading nook! Don’t let books and reading become out of sight, out of mind. Instead, keep some books readily available by picking up a big basket at the dollar store or a garage sale that you can keep filled with books on your “must read” list or from the library. Place it in the corner of your main living area and you’ll be able to pick up a book at a moment’s notice. If you have the space, decorate the corner with some big floor pillows so that you and your kids can lounge a bit as you choose a book from the book basket.

4. Lead by example with daily reading time! As a family, find 20 minutes at least three times a week where everyone (yes, mom and dad, too!) turns off electronics, puts away toys, and opens up a book. Set a timer and when the 20 minutes are up, spend a few minutes as a family sharing about what you just read.

The most important thing when it comes to summer reading is consistency, so find what works best for you to keep your kids “in the books” for at least a few hours each week. You’ll be glad you did when school starts up again!