8 Ways to Help Your Child Read More this Summer

Summer is a fantastic time to help your child read more and become a confident reader. However, it’s easy to let the days fill up with swimming, sports, or day camps, and to let reading fall by the wayside. Smart parents use summer as a time for their children to read as much as possible because they know that reading keeps their mind active while they’re not in school, and that children need lots of time to practice reading to become proficient readers. I believe that summer reading can be magical for you and your child, especially if you try a few of the ideas in this post.




Here’s 8 ways to help your child read more {and love it} this summer:


Create magical reading spaces.

Amp up the magic. Make reading more cozy and enjoyable.
This can be as simple as a basket of books with pillows nearby. To make it extra magical, let the kids create a fort or set up a reading tent. Add flashlights or popcorn to amp up the fun even more.

Swap a movie for a read-aloud treat.

Put a blanket on the floor, pop popcorn and read aloud to your children of all and any ages. Let the kids color or play with Legos to keep their hands busy. It may not look like they’re listening, but they are!

The reading you do aloud this summer will be some of the most memorable parts of your summer. Nothing beats the shared experience of a story, and you’ll look back with fondness to the first time you read The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe or Charlottes’ Web to your children.



Vary the content.

Reading doesn’t always have to be novels. Reading fluency comes from reading lots of different types of texts. Add comic books, graphic novels, magazines, and non-fiction picture encyclopedias.

Picture Encyclopedias are fascinating for kids to explore. They have gorgeous pictures and photos, as well as engaging text. This is one of our favorites.

Make the most of car time.

If you’re like us, you might spend a lot of time in the car in the summer. Between road trips, traveling to visit family, or having adventures in your own town, we clock a lot of road time in the summer. Download a few audiobooks for the summer and listen while you go. {Check out my post about the best audio resources for kids and families  for my favorite audio recommendations.}

Visit new and used book stores.

Bookstores can be a great place to fall in love with reading and books
Just being around books and other readers helps gets kids excited about reading. In addition, a visit to the bookstore often helps children discover books they want to read. Visit bookstores when you’re exploring a new city. Look up “independent bookstores”  and you’ll find bookstores with lots of personality, local flavor, and books you may not discover anywhere else.

Set a family reading goal.

Talk to each child about how many books they can push themselves to read this summer, and then set a realistic goal that pushes you a little bit. Be sure to have you and your spouse in on the reading goal! Kids love being able to check in on their parents to see if you’re reading too! Hang a chart to track your reading in a central location. Once you reach your goal, go celebrate as a family. You can get ice cream, or even better, go to a new or used bookstore and let them each pick out a new book!

Read anytime and anywhere.

Don’t always wait until bedtime to read. Get into the habit of reading after lunch, or breakfast or any time of the day. Let your child read at the table, on the couch, in hammocks, on the trampoline, at the park, during swim breaks at the pool….I think you got the point!
Read under a tree, in a hammock, at the park or pool. Read anytime and anywhere!





Make use of the library.

The greatest gift you can give to your child is to read aloud to them.

Follow the tips on this post about visiting the library with kids. Each visit to the library is a great opportunity to turn your kids on to loving books and reading.

Sign up for the summer reading program at your local library. They usually give prizes or coupons out to kids who complete the program.  One summer, my kids each received a $70 backpack from a local sponsor for completing the program! Usually, the rewards are much smaller, but it’s still great for the kids to have an outside incentive for their reading.

Libraries often have book lists that are fun to complete such as: “The 100 Best Picture Books of All Time.” Some kids find tracking their reading from a list to be really fun.


A love of reading equals lifetime learners

Use these tips to help your child read more and love it this summer. A child who loves to read will become a lifelong learner. Keep your summer reading fun, create goals as a family, and add some magic. Happy Reading!




Gina, author of SmartHappyMom.com

is a passionate educator, mom to 4 wild and wonderful children, loves to travel and eat lots of snacks. Gina taught high school English as well as home-schooled her own children for several years. As a result, she loves talking about books, literacy, and how to help your children become better readers. Gina knows how much power moms have in their families, and is excited to share tips for moms about how to have smarter, happier homes. Follow Gina on Instagram @smarthappymom or facebook.com/smarthappymom

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