Summer Reading

1 Jun

It’s almost that time.

Kids everywhere are finishing up yet another school year and looking forward to their summer vacations.

For us that means it’s time for our yearly Summer Reading Challenge.

At the end of last June, I challenged my then six-year-old daughter, to read one hundred books before the new school year started.

One hundred books between the week of June 24th and August 18th. She was already a pretty voracious reader so it wasn’t beyond her to accomplish that task.

The deal was that she could read as much or as little as she wanted as long as she finished her last book before the first day of school on August 19th. And if she did, she would get a reward of her choosing.

She rocked that challenge and read all one hundred books before the first day of school.

And because I know someone will ask: No, she did not spend all day every day reading. Yes, she got plenty of fresh air and sunshine. Some days she read nothing at all and some days she only read for five minutes.

This year I’m letting her set her own reading goal and so far her plan is to read 7-10 books each week until school starts.

She’s actually finishing up a Mensa reading challenge this week which contained 64 books so I’m interested to see if she’ll want to take a little break from reading or jump right back in to it. Honestly, I didn’t think she’d ever finish Little House on the Prairie. That one was not what you’d call a page turner.

That might seem like a lot of reading for a kid but she really does love to read. I know that’s because we started reading to her very early on. We read to her when she was teeny and she had no idea what we were saying. We read fiction and non fiction. We read about math and space and Mickey Mouse. We read cookbooks and newspapers to her. We read about everything and nothing. The point is we read, a lot.

Not only did this ignite her curiosity and encourage a love of learning, but it also taught her to sit still and pay attention which is kind of important in a classroom setting.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s not a perfect child. Not even close. She’s stubborn, and mouthy, and has a fit when she doesn’t get her way, and I still can’t take her shopping with me because she jacks around in the aisles, hangs all over the cart, and insists on buying ALLTHETHINGS! And she still leaves her dolls face down on the floor or against the wall (Blair Witch style) because she knows it freaks me out.

She’s quite a little punk but she’s also smart… really smart, and learning comes easy to her. I know that it’s because she’s a reader.

Children who read or are read to tend to do better in school and research continues to support this.

So whether your child is a brand new reader or a more experienced independent reader, I hope you’ll join us in our reading challenge this summer. Even if your kids hate reading and you only get them to read the back of their cereal box, that counts as a win!

Be sure to share your kids’ progress and their favorite books in the comments section below. We’re always looking for good books!

Even if your kids read just a little this summer, I promise their new teachers will be grateful come fall.


If your kids just can’t get into reading:

* Check with your local library to see if they have any programs geared towards their age group. A lot of libraries offer story time, book clubs, and/or incentive programs where kids can earn rewards for reading.

* Create your own incentive program at home and still keep it cheap or free! Extra video game play time may be all it takes to get your kids to pick up a book.

*Many Barnes & Noble locations have story time for kids on the weekends. Check to see if yours is participating. Additionally, your child may be able to earn a free book just by reading any eight books and recording them in their reading journal. Click here for more info.

*Sometimes it’s not that kids don’t like to read, it’s just that they prefer being read to. So another suggestion (aside from you reading to them, obviously) is to check out audiobooks from your library along with the actual book so your kids can follow along. I do this with Cam often. She will lay in bed with headphones on and listen to a story just before bed or as she’s doing a quiet activity in her room. 

* For little ones who don’t like to sit still for very long, try reading to them while they’re in the bath or on the potty.

* Keep books in the car. If your kids know they’re there, they may be inclined to crack one open.

* Bring books to restaurants, appointments, or any situation where they may be forced to sit and wait.

* Institute DEAR time in your house this summer. DEAR stands for Drop Everything And Read. It’s pretty self-explanatory.

* Do your kids have a favorite TV or movie character? Chances are good that there’s a book at your local library that that character is in. 

* Ask your kids if they’ve read any good books lately. Have them tell you about their favorite books and what they liked about them. Do you remember reading that book as a child? What did you like about it? Discuss with your kids.

* Create a special space for reading. Is there a big shady tree in your yard or a quiet spot in your house where you can create a book nook?  Something as simple as a blanket on the ground,  or a few pillows in a quiet corner of your home can provide a special place for the two of you to read together. My husband makes a blanket fort every Saturday night for Camryn by laying blankets over our dining room table and chairs so that she can crawl underneath and hang out. I’m telling you, if you can build a fort for your kids, do it! And throw some books and a little flashlight in there too.

*And finally, crack a book open yourself and let your kids see you enjoying it. Sometimes, that little action is enough to get kids interested in reading.


Websites to Challenge Readers:

between the lions

PBS reading games

Game Goo

Word World


Games and Activities to Motivate Your Reader Here

Free E Books here, here, and here





2 Responses to “Summer Reading”

  1. Edith (Sara) June 4, 2014 at 10:01 am #

    What a great blog! Very motivating! I’m putting together our summer plan now! Thanks for the great ideas! She is mouthy! And wicked smart!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: