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Best Summer Reading Ideas for Kids: They either read this summer, or clean my bathroom.

By Melissa Summers

I’ve had this entry brewing in the queue for a while. I haven’t been able to bring myself to write about it until now because the thought of summer vacation gives me hives. I don’t really hate summer vacation, It’s fine for the first 3 weeks or so, it’s just the last 6 which send me careening into insanity. More than usual. But it’s time to think about summer reading programs so I’ll just pretend summer is still weeks away, not the actual 8 days away it is.

sun.jpgAccording to experts, kids who don’t read over the summer can lose up to two months or 22% of instructional time over the summer if they don’t keep reading. Teachers also say it’s common to spend the first month of the school year reteaching material children already learned late in the year before. Reading Is Fundamental has great information and ideas to help encourage your children to read over the summer. Even better send your kids over to read these tips directed at them.

readingbuzz.jpgScholastic Books and Target have kicked off a new program this year called the Summer Reading Buzz. At the Scholastic site kids can track the books they read, get book recommendations and discussion questions and share their thoughts with other kids. The site is wonderfully motivating for kids and as a bonus, for every four books your child logs in, Scholastic will donate a book to ‘Reading Is Fundamental’ to go to a child who may not otherwise be able to afford books of their own.

barnesandnoble.jpgBarnes and Noble is offering their popular summer reading program again this summer. Last year they gave out 291,000 free books and participants read a combined 2.3 million books. Pick up a reading log at any Barnes and Noble store or print your own at the site. After your child has read any 8 books and written about their favorite part, bring the sheet into the store and your child can choose a paperback book from a large list of titles. Be sure to check out your local store’s storytimes while you’re there as well.

markteague.jpgLibraries are another excellent resource for summer reading. Almost all libraries offer a summer reading program and additional summer storytimes and activities. I have been known to burn an hour of daylight (or five) at the library with my kids. Free wireless, books, computers what’s not to love. This year our library is running a book club for mothers and daughters 8-12 years old along with their regular summer reading program. New York State is running a statewide summer reading program (a collaborative effort with several states) with a great website here. The artwork for New York’s program is by Mark Teague, author of our family favorite, “Dear Ms. LaRue”.

I’m not so much concerned about the so-called “Summer Slide” in regards to reading. I am however concerned about the “Summer Sanity Slide.” Maybe reading will help.

Melissa Summers
About the Author

Melissa Summers

Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.


Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.

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  • Another great summer program is called Bookworm and it is at National Amusements theatres. Each Wednesday morning, kids who bring in a completed “book report” (which they can get online) get in to a free movie. The kid-oriented movies are different each week. An adult and siblings under 6 (or so) get in free with the book reporting child. I know that National Amusements doesn’t have theatres everywhere, but other companies may be doing similar projects. Thanks for all the great suggestions — as a former teacher and library education student I think reading encouragement is super important!

  • Megsmom

    I am a local girl and I was wondering which library is doing the mother-daughter book club. I called the Royal Oak library and it isn’t them, but this is something my daughter and I would love.

  • Megan

    Hey – thanks for the library shout out.

  • My daughter is in middle school and got the recommended summer reading list today. She *loves* reading but she had an instant bad reaction to being told what she “should” be reading.
    I laughed at her and said they were books she had either read or was going to read anyway. But I can remember having the same reaction and I love reading. Why do we have that knee-jerk reaction?
    We’re starting to read the same books so we can discuss them which is fun.
    But I still make her clean her bathroom. I’m *so* mean 😉

  • anbar

    hi. i want to establish my own reading club for kids in the summer and i want to advise me in how to srart ???
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