With summer quickly approaching, I can already feel the difference it’s made in the amount of time our family spends reading. Instead of staying inside and cuddling up with a good book, we go outside every chance we get and reluctantly drag ourselves in at bedtime.

So how can we keep our kids reading this summer? It all starts by making reading something they can look forward to, instead of just another chore.

Visit the Library Often.
Not only do libraries offer fun summer reading programs, but they are also a great way to keep your home filled with new and interesting reading material. Include some audio books in your selections. Whether you enjoy them at home or on the go, listening to stories can captivate young readers, fueling their passion for books.

If you’re like me, the thought of taking your little ones to the library can be daunting. There are still days when my littlest prefers to pull all the books off the shelves rather than enjoy the fun learning activities prepared by the children department. To remedy this, I simply go online and place some book selections on hold a few days before our library visit. That way, we’re guaranteed to walk out with a few good reads no matter what kind of day we’re having.

Give Kids their Own Library Tote.

Simply use the school backpack they’ve retired for the summer or pick up an inexpensive tote from the craft store to personalize or let kids decorate themselves. Not only will they be more excited to read selections they have chosen personally, but it also gives them a chance to take responsibility for their books. Using tote bags makes it easier to keep track of library materials at home and also allows kids to grab them at a moment’s notice for car trips or outdoor reading.

Designate Family Reading Times.

Building a few simple routines into your day helps ensure that you’re providing various opportunities to expose your children to the written word.
  • Try reading a passage from a family devotional or the Bible at the breakfast table.
  • Read aloud from a chapter book while the kids are enjoying a snack. Some of our favorites have included Charlotte’s Web, The Little House on the Prairie series, the Anna Hibiscus books, and Nim’s Island.
  • Implement a quiet reading time after lunch, where everyone (including you) grabs a book to read themselves. I selfishly started this habit when I wanted to be able to fit more personal reading time into my own day. What I discovered is that when my little ones see me enjoying reading, they enjoy it all the more as well!
  • Take turns reading from favorite picture books before bed. Even little ones will have fun “reading” a familiar story from memory.
Make Reading an Adventure

  •  Set goals and keep a reading journal. Simply list book titles or minutes read on a sheet of paper, add marbles to a jar, or make a paper chain. When your goal is met, celebrate!
  • Create a reading map to add some variety in what or where your child reads. It could be one that takes your child through the Dewey Decimal system of the library, or one that inspires fun and unique places to read. Whether you sketch your own or use the printables found here, have your child mark off each spot on the map as he completes it. Celebrate when you reach the end of your journey.

Extend the Story

  • Find ways to bring the stories to life beyond the pages of the book.
  • Inspired by the illustrations? Break out your art supplies and create your own artwork.
  • Curious about some of the natural elements in the story? Design a simple experiment.
  • Intrigued by the differences of another time or place? Try preparing an ethnic dish or spend time talking to someone familiar with the customs of that time period or location.
  • Looking to make your reading experience come alive? Take a field trip: go to the zoo, play at the science museum, visit a working farm, go on a hike, spend the day at the beach or explore a historical site. The possibilities are endless!

But no matter what you decide to implement this summer, you know your kids best. You know what makes them tick and what gets them excited. Connect reading with your kids’ passions and they’re surely to become passionate about reading! 

Cindy is a wife and the mother to three precious kiddos, all of whom constantly inspire her to find joy in the everyday. You can join her at Crayon Wishes and Popsicle Dreams, where she shares her thoughts about the journey she’s on and the projects she creates along the way.  

Read the rest of the Spring Into Summer series (which includes a giveaway)!
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5 Comments on Keep Your Kids Reading This Summer–and Free Printables!–Spring Into Summer Day 2

  1. Very good ideas! I love the idea of extending the story. My kids love to put on ‘plays’ so we might start trying to do a few ‘what happens next’ challenges after reading a book.

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