Making Summer Reading Fun

We are already at the halfway(ish) point of summer break, and I am begging time to slow down. There are still so many adventures to take, still so many cannonballs to perform, still so many fireflies to chase, still so many memories to make. And there are still so many books to read! I have to say it: “Time flies when you’re having fun!”

Wait. Having fun with reading?

That’s right. I have done everything I can this summer to make reading fun, with the hopes that the more fun my kids have reading, the more they will want to read and develop a lifetime love of reading.

Here are a few of the ways I have tried to make reading fun:

1. Make it a game/challenge.

I found this cute Reading Bingo game card on Pinterest. I printed it and laminated it (because any excuse to use my laminator is a good one) and now my girls are motivated to complete each square to get a special surprise. Each reading activity on the card is fun in and of itself, too. Win-win! 

Reading while enjoying snow cones.

2. Expand the experience beyond the book.

I learned this as a member of a the BBCE (official title Best Book Club Ever). When we read Hunger Games, we ate lamb stew. After Gone Girl, we did a scavenger hunt. For Unbroken, we paddled ourselves out into the middle of the ocean to see how long we could survive — or maybe we just talked about doing that. You get the point. Doing an activity related to a book leaves a lasting impression on kids. Check out some of the awesome ideas on the BOOK IT! Program website.

Reading under a blanket tent.

3. Read to your kids and have your kids read with or to other kids.

When my kids are exhausted after playing in the summer sun, there is nothing more comforting than to watch them drift off to sleep as I read to them. I also love experiencing some great nostalgia when I read them some of my childhood favorites. My kids have access to lots of books over the summer, which is not the case for all kids. Thankfully, my hero Dolly Parton has bridged that gap with her Imagination Library, which provides more than a million free books EACH MONTH to children all across the world. Go Dolly! Since I totally want to be her when I grow up and because I want to teach my kids the importance of volunteering, I am looking into my kids reading with other kids in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. 

Making the most of summer reading is definitely not a dilemma of the chicken before the egg. I don’t expect my kids to choose to read on their own at this stage in life (my girls are eight, six, and three) nor do I want them to get the feeling that reading is drudgery. I do hope one day they will choose to read because they enjoy it…with or without the snow cone.

What books are your kids reading this summer? Do you have any tips for making reading fun? 

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