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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.

More From AlphaMom

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Super Simple DIY Reading Tent
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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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  • Kelsey

    June 5, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    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

    June 5, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    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

    June 5, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    Hey – thanks for the library shout out.

  • Angel

    June 7, 2007 at 12:42 am

    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

    May 7, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    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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