How often have you heard, “Mom, let’s go to the library. I need new books to read!“?
This is a regular statement for us during the summer. My kids LOVE our summer reading program which keeps them motivated and willing to read with no prompting from me.
It is simple and the rules are made to keep everyone encouraged so no one finds reading a chore.
The reason for the program
Before I jump into how we work our summer reading program, I want to share with you why I created it.
Learning to read came easily to my daughter and I felt confident that we were on the right track. We took a summer break and spent every day at the park or lake or the tiny pool in our backyard. I gave no thought to reading.
When fall came, it was a struggle!
It took two months to get her back to where she was. I decided we were not going to do that again! For other helpful reading tips, you might also like “4 Strategies for Improving Reading Skills”
I was pleased to discover that our summer reading program had many other benefits as well. I rarely heard “I’m bored!” and an increase in vocabulary was noticeable.
I make a chart for each child with numbers 1-100 written. Each time a book is read, the child places a sticker on the next number. I buy packs of little stickers at the dollar store. It is something like 500 stickers in a pack and my toddler loves having this choice.
Summer is a great time to focus on gratitude! These simple journaling pages are perfect for an easy summer activity.
Summer Reading Rules
- Books must be at appropriate reading level when silently reading.
- For those kids that are too young to read themselves, they receive a sticker any time someone reads them a book.
- If an older child is reading to a younger sibling, both get credit for the book. This is my favorite rule because it not only makes reading fun, but it encourages sibling bonding time. I just love seeing my kids sitting together sharing a book!
- Reading the same book a second time does not count. This is where all the trips to the library come in. I have a healthy supply of books at home (I fear I have a bit of an addiction) but not enough to support 100 different books. The exception to this would be if they read the book during the school year, it does count if they read it again during the 100 books of summer.
- Family read alouds count. Whether it be a colorful picture book with everyone curled up together on the couch (another favorite of mine) or a chapter book read aloud on a road trip. Whomever is reading or listening gets a sticker.
- Audio books are a bonus. While riding in the car or having quiet time in the house, if someone listens to a whole book on cd, they get a sticker.
Prizes-the Best Part
The big goal is 100 books and once everyone in the family has achieved this we take a trip to an amusement park. One hundred can be a bit overwhelming so I give smaller prizes at 25, 50, and 75. If your child needs a little more motivation, every 10 may work better.
I would like to note that you should choose whichever number of books you think will work for your kids. Some summers we are busy and only have a chart of 50 books. The number doesn’t matter as much as the content!
Update: This summer I created a coloring page for our summer reading charts. Instead of using stickers, they color a number after finishing a book. This has been a big hit. Click the link under the Summer Reading Chart to print your own.
Many libraries, book stores, restaurants, and amusement parks give prizes for summer reading as well. It is a nice motivation and helps with the all consuming screen time desire.
Have you been successful with a summer reading program? I’d love for you to leave your experience in the comments. I am always open for more ideas!
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