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7 Ways to Make Reading a Fun Part of Summer Break

Summer vacation is finally here, and it’s the perfect time to sneak in some reading fun for your kids! Picture this: poolside lounging with a good book, storytime during road trips, or cozy reading sessions on lazy afternoons. Whether your child is a budding bookworm or just dipping their toes into the world of reading, there are plenty of ways to make reading a memorable highlight of their summer break. Encouraging a love for books not only keeps young minds active but also creates excellent opportunities for family bonding. Let’s dive into some easy and exciting ways to get your elementary-aged kids hooked on books this summer!

Don’t require reading-

The last thing you want your kids to do is to think of reading as another summer chore. I may be an author and a teacher, but I am a parent first. I know the pitfalls of requiring my kids to do their 20 minutes of daily reading! It becomes a dreaded chore! I discovered that when I didn’t force reading on my kids, they found a love of reading on their own. Integrating books into our everyday activities ensures reading has become a natural and enjoyable part of our day. From picking out fun books together at the library to creating cozy reading nooks, I learned that fostering a love for reading is all about making it fun and stress-free.

Visit your local library- 

If your library card is expired or you simply can't remember the last time you visited your local library, take that as a sign to carve out an hour or two to explore. Your local library is so much more than books! It's an excellent opportunity to socialize with other readers, make new friends, take a class, and much more. My own local library offers new weekly scavenger hunts for kids to explore the children’s section. There’s also a section for building blocks, board games, and crafting, and the activities change every week. Turning “checkout time” into a fun habit can be an exciting opportunity for your children to “shop” for as many books as they would like– for free! They can feel a sense of responsibility for choosing the books, keeping them safe at home, and reading them all before the due date. It's a perfect outing for a rainy day that costs nothing. 

Visit a local bookstore-

While visiting a local bookstore isn’t a free outing like your library is, it can prove to be just as valuable! There is something about the quietness, the feel of a new hardcover, and the smell of a bookstore that reminds me why I love reading. It’s a feeling that my children are beginning to understand, too! While we can’t take home a limitless supply of books, we can

peruse the shelves for brand-new titles that aren’t available in the library yet. We can also visit the local authors' section, and if we are lucky and time it just right, we might even get to

meet a real author (and grab a signed book). Local bookstores have regular events to draw in crowds, often including local authors. Some have cafes attached to grab a hot chocolate or other sweet treat. My kids and I recently visited An Unlikely Story, a bookstore in Plainville, Massachusetts, owned by Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney. We were invited by a friend to tour Kinney’s upstairs studio. The cherry on top of us was when Mr. Kinney popped out, introduced himself, and finished the tour with us. It was one of those unforgettable memories that my kids will forever remember. It also ignited an already-sparked obsession with Kinney’s book series. It’s a love of reading that never could have evolved if I had turned summer reading into a chore. 

Make family reading time a thing-

Kids learn by watching their parents. If you want your kids to love reading and want it to be a natural thing, then you’ve got to show them how by doing it yourself. Show them that reading is a lifelong hobby. Always have a book you’re reading on hand and ready to flip open at any time. Bored this summer? Rather than finishing those dishes or folding that laundry, show your kids it's okay to take a break, find a cozy nook, and jump into a good book–and do it with them! Snuggle together during a rainstorm, stay up past your bedtime (it’s summertime, after all!), and be a reading role model for them. 

Meet a real author-

A fun surprise meeting author Jeff Kinney at a bookstore outing.

I know that I have already touched on this, but let’s dive deeper. While meeting an author might happen by chance, what if you made an intentional effort? Visit bookstore websites or library event calendars, or better yet, research local authors or your kids' favorite authors and find out where they will be. Authors love to meet fans in real life, and book tours and signings are a regular part of their gig. Mark your calendar and surprise your kids. Then, watch their face as they meet a real author superhero and witness their passion for reading grow. 

Reward reading-

Remember those personal pan-pizza awards for reading in the 90s? They’re nostalgic and bring back positive memories of reading. Why? Rewards are fun, and so is reading. Reluctant readers might need a little boost of encouragement, so rewarding them might be just what they need. But this tip also comes with a warning: don’t lose the entire meaning of the challenge simply for the reward. My advice here is to make the reward for reading all about more reading! Finish a book or a series of books? Perhaps the reward is going to the bookstore to get a brand-new book. Staying up an extra hour to read, skipping a chore for reading, or watching the movie version of a book are all great incentives to reward summer reading.

Participate in a summer reading challenge-

Visit your local library or hop on to your local town's Facebook Page, and you may discover a reading challenge for your kids to participate in. And if it doesn’t exist–make one yourself! Create a bingo board or a bucket list of reading ideas to check off all summer. A simple Google search for “fun summer reading challenge ideas” generates an unending supply of new ideas that are unique and fun. Print the list and put it somewhere visible daily as a constant reminder. Enlist the help of friends or family and make it a group challenge! 

As you dive into summer break with your kids, remember that the key to incorporating reading is to keep it fun and stress-free. Let them choose their own books, read together in cozy spots, and offer multiple opportunities to weave reading into your activities. Seek out new reading experiences and show your kids that reading is for adults, too. The goal is to make reading an enjoyable part of their day, not another chore to check off the list. Creating a relaxed and exciting reading environment will help your kids discover the magic of books on their own terms. Here’s to a summer full of sun, laughter, and lots of great stories! Happy reading!

Have an idea that makes summer reading fun with your kiddos? Comment below and share it with our little reading community! We're all in this together ;)

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