Fun Summer Reading Activities

Studies suggest that children who read as few as six books over the summer maintain the level of reading skills they achieved during the preceding school year. And of course, reading more than that is even better! When kids are provided with 10 to 20 self-selected children's books at the end of the regular school year, as many as 50 percent not only maintain their skills, but actually make reading gains.

And listen, summer reading does not need to be a slog! Here are some ideas to make reading part of your summer fun:

1. Join your local library summer reading initiatives

Most libraries have summer reading programs; join and then commit to going to the library, checking out books, and reading! Establish one day a week that is your library day, during which you return books, find new ones, and collect the program stamps that libraries offer toward prizes. If your child was sent home with a summer reading list, super, but also don't feel limited to what is on the list. Children and YA librarians are typically brimming with recommendations!

2. Visit local bookstores while you're on vacation

Allowing your child to browse and shop for new books makes the excitement about reading even greater. When you're on vacation, pop into a local bookstore (yay for local bookstores!) and spend time browsing authors your child enjoys, series that they have wanted to read, and recommendations of others. Self-selection is so important when it comes to motivation to read! Once your kids hit their purchasing limit, keep a list of other self-selected titles for your next library visit.

3. Have your kid read to you

When kids learn to read, there's a new level of independence, but summer is also a great time to take advantage of the slower pace and have some of your together time include your child reading to you. This is also a great way to figure out what books will be at the right reading level for your kids. Here's a quick guide for how students are taught to select "just right" books for their reading level in school.

  • Too easy: No challenging words; they can read it quickly without errors. It is phrased and fluent, meaning that it sounds enjoyable to listen to if read aloud by your child.
  • Too hard: There are many words your child doesn't know or gets stuck on. Reading is slow and lacks flow when read aloud. Try the 5-finger test: Choose a random page. For every word your child gets stuck on or stumbles over, put a finger up. If you get to 5 on a page then it is a bit too hard for them to read independently.
  • Just right: Most words are just right and every so often a word comes up that takes a little work. The tricky words do not break up the flow of the reading or get in the way of understanding the text. The story is still fluent and sounds enjoyable when read aloud.

4. Try a different reading style

Reading opportunities come in many forms so experiment with different reading styles. For example, if your child typically reads picture books and is reading them fluently, try a short chapter book. Or introduce comic books as a fun reading option. Or try a different genre, like mysteries. That's one of the beauties of making library visits part of your routine; you can experiment to your heart's delight at no cost!

5. Swap books with friends

As your kid heads to camp programs or playdates with friends, encourage book swaps!

6. start a book club

Looking for ways to connect with your kid while also fostering your own love of reading? Consider starting a mother-daughter book club

7. Cozy up together

As kids grow older and more independent with their reading, there's a tendency to just have them go do their own thing. But cozying up and reading together is a wonderful way to have quiet quality time together, model reading habits, and also nurture your own self-care through books.

7 activities to make summer reading fun for kids (and you too!)

7 activities to make summer reading fun for kids (and you too!)