How to Get Your Kids Reading over the Summer

by Sami

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Our Kids Summer Activities & Schedule series continues today with another great guest post by a friend of mine I’ve admired and worked with over the past year, Sue (also known as The HomeSchool Chick). We finally got to meet in Nashville last year while getting introduced to Quaver Music, and I fell in love with her heart – and I know you’re going to love what she has to share today!

Kids reading

Kids reading by LHDumes, on Flickr

Reading fluency and comprehension are such important things for kids to learn in school, but when your kids step away from the classroom over the summer are they inspired to pick up a book and read on their own?

A love for reading is such an important thing to instill in children at a young age because it fosters their imagination, builds their vocabulary, and expands their view of the world.

No one captures this idea better than Dr Suess:


I don’t know about all of the other moms out there, but sometimes I struggle to get my son interested in reading when he’s on a break from school. The computer and video games sometimes seem far more enticing to him during free time than reading. However, I have discovered a few little tricks along the way that helped my son put down the video game controller and pick up a book.


This concept is simple. Your child reads a certain number of books, and in return they receive some sort of predetermined reward from you.

I’ve heard of parents using everything from money to sweet treats as rewards for reading time. Personally, I haven’t had to resort to costly gifts. I just tell my son if he wants to earn time on the computer he has to spend a certain about of time reading. (It works like a charm!)

If you know what your child wants most, you can usually use that as a reward for time spent with a good book or two.

Summer Reading Programs

There are several places that offer great incentives and prizes to kids who read over the summer. Here are just a few:

• Kids can earn a free book from Barnes & Noble whenever they read eight books. You can check out this fun summer reading program HERE or inquire at your local Barnes & Noble store.

• Pizza Hut has a wonderful reading program called “Book It” where kids can earn certificates for personal pan pizzas when they read a certain number of books. Students from preschool – 6th grade can earn pizza certificates by simply applying HERE.

• Check out your local public library for fun reading incentives. For example, a library in my area puts your name in a drawing for an XBOX 360 at the end of the summer if you read a certain number of books. Isn’t that cool? (Our tax dollars hard at work, I tell ya!)

Regular trips to the Library

Make a fun day trip to your local library and let your kids explore books on their favorite topics to take home for further reading.

When we’re in the middle of our homeschool year, I usually tell my son that he can bring home one book on whatever topic he would like and then 3 or 4 books specific to whatever we’re studying at the time. You could use this same concept over the summer and let your kids pick out one “whatever you want” book, one educational book on a topic that they’d like to learn more about, and one long chapter book. This idea makes the sometimes overwhelming task of selecting books a bit easier for indecisive kids.

Required Reading

It kind of drives my son a little nuts when I inform him that he WILL be spending some time reading during his free time over the summer, but without fail, he finds himself getting caught up in a book and has a hard time putting it down when “required reading time” is over. Sometimes a little nudge from mama is all kids need to accomplish something they otherwise might not have done.

Overall, just remember to focus on the fun of reading with your kids this summer, and the amazing places that you can go from the air conditioned comfort of our own home!

What about you? Do you have any good tips or tricks to share that have motivated your kiddos to read? We’d love for you to share your ideas with a comment below!

Happy Reading!


Sue is a full-time mom that blogs about homeschooling her tween-aged son often between large loads of dirty laundry and multiple cups of coffee. You can connect with her on her website, The Homeschool Chick, on her facebook fan page or on twitter.

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Rebecca June 9, 2011 - 5:18 am

You both….Sami and Sue are fantabulous! I love these ideas and put one of them into action already….will have to complete the list this week!!! Thank you for this sweet post of encouragement!

Jen June 8, 2011 - 9:03 pm

enjoyed reading this – thanks 🙂

Melissa June 8, 2011 - 12:10 pm

I love these tips! I’m going to check out Barnes & Noble to get more info on their program this week. Thanks.

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