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Summer Reading Ideas for Kids: Read a Book or Clean My Bathroom

By Melissa Summers

I’ve been thinking about strategies for getting kids to read in the summer for a while, but 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 three weeks or so, it’s just the last six 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 eight days away it is.

Programs That Get Kids Reading

According to the experts at Reading is Fundamental (RIF), kids can lose up to two months — or 22 percent 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. RIF has some great information and ideas to help encourage your children to read over the summer.

For kids who are motivated by competition, Scholastic Books’ Summer Reading Buzz program may be a good motivator. At the Scholastic site kids can log the number of minutes they read, find book recommendations and discussion questions and share their thoughts with other kids. Kids can also find their school or library on a map to see how many minutes other kids in their community are reading this summer.

Barnes and Noble is offering their popular summer reading program again this summer — and it’s been expanded to include teens and adults, because reading isn’t just for kids! Pick up a reading log at any Barnes and Noble store or print your own at the site. For kids in grades 1 through 6, Barnes and Noble offers an extra incentive: After your child has read any eight books and written about their favorite part on the reading log,  bring the sheet into the store and your child can choose a free paperback book from a large list of titles. Be sure to check out your local store’s story times while you’re there as well.

Libraries are another excellent resource for summer reading. Almost all libraries offer a summer reading program and additional summer story times 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. Visit your local library to see what your city or state has going this summer.

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.

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Published June 5, 2007. Last updated October 3, 2017.
Melissa Summers
About the Author

Melissa Summers

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

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

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