Summer break means lots of free play time, but we also want our kids to keep learning. These free printable reading charts will help keep your kids motivated to learn all summer long.
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Today is Little Man’s last day of preschool. What??? He’s going to Kindergarten in the fall, and I can hardly believe we’ve both survived (and often enjoyed) five whole years. I have lots of plans for fun in the sun this summer, but I also want to make sure that he is prepared academically for Kindergarten in the fall…so I’ve been looking for ideas of how we can incorporate some learning activities into our summer plans.
One of my big focuses with Little Man lately has been teaching him the basics of reading. We’ve tried a bunch of fun ways to learn sight words, and we practicing reading every day. It’s been amazing to see him start to put together words and phrases. He’s still far from being able to read on his own, but we’re making progress!
To keep him motivated, we came up with a challenge for him to read fifty different books (he’s really good at memorizing, so we have to keep introducing new stories). We’ve been keeping track of his progress on a simple reading chart. When he fills up the whole chart, he’ll get to pick a prize. We’re on book 34 and counting! At this rate, I’m going to need a new challenge and a new chart in a couple of weeks–which is great!
All of our reading and charting got me thinking about all of you with your kiddos at home this summer. Do you encourage and track summer reading with your kids?
I remember my mom tacking up a big poster on our refrigerator in the summers and challenging each of us kids to track our reading. This wasn’t hard for me because I usually read a Boxcar Children book a day back then–oh to have the time to read a whole book in a single day (almost every day) again! The next summer I immersed myself in Nancy Drew, then The Babysitter’s Club. Seriously. I think I exhausted the library’s collection. I
was am a nerd, and I’m proud of it.
But really, I’m so grateful that I had a mom who encouraged me to read, who made it a priority to make sure that I always had good books around to choose from, and who led by her own example of loving literature. I’m trying to give my kids the same benefit.
Why summer reading is important
According to the National Summer Reading Association, most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. Low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement. (See the NSRA for more info and sources)
We can limit the “summer slide” by continuing to give our children opportunities to learn–especially reading.
Making reading fun
Reading shouldn’t be a burden through. The best way to motivate kids to read is to find ways to make it fun! One challenge I’d like to try this summer is trying to accomplish reading “BINGO”. The idea is that you have a whole bunch of reading challenges for your kids to complete (read a book outside, read a book about another country, etc.).
Each time they get BINGO (or when they complete all the challenges…whatever you want to set as the expectation), they earn a prize!
If you need inspiration to create your own BINGO board, or if you want to be ambitious, take a peek at the summer reading calendars from No Time for Flashcards. They have a new reading challenge for each day all summer long!
Keeping track of reading
Charts are really motivating for most kids. Being able to put a sticker up on the wall and visually see what they are accomplishing is enough to keep a lot of kids moving in the right direction.
If stickers aren’t enough, you can consider adding simple prizes. The prize could be a date with Mom or Dad, picking out new squirt guns or water balloons at the store…whatever. It doesn’t have to be expensive…just make plans to do something exciting and out of the ordinary. Find what motivates YOUR child, and go with it!
For Little Man’s 50 book challenge, I created a simple reading chart so he can keep track of his progress. It has 50 boxes, and he gets to color one in every time he reads a book to me (or you could totally use stickers instead). You could also use this chart to track every time your child reads a certain number of minutes, or to track that they accomplish any other predefined reading “challenge” each day. Because there are seven boxes per line, it makes a great little calendar.
If you want to use the chart I created for your own kids, you can download it for free below!
Now, I realize that different kids of different ages will have different reading needs. So, in addition to my own chart, I scoured the web for other summer reading charts…and there are SO many great options available! I intend to use some of them in the coming months; it’s nice to have a variety to choose from to keep things fresh for the kids.
Below, I’m sharing with you some of the best reading charts I’ve found so you can choose the one(s) that will work best for your reading goals and your kids’ ages.
Enjoy your summer, and HAPPY READING!
MORE awesome summer reading charts for kids
Summer “Reading Star” chart and reward coupons from How Does She
This is your one stop shop if your want to do the BINGO-style reading challenge I wrote about above. The ladies at How Does She have created BINGO boards, reward coupons for getting BINGO, and even “golden ticket” reward coupons for when your child earns blackout! It’s awesome–and free. The set even includes a reading banner that can aid your child in recalling and comprehending what they read. Seriously, a wonderful resource.
Printable punch card bookmarks from Over the Moon
If you want a super simple system for older kids, I love these bookmark charts from Over the Moon. They’re small, easy to maintain, and your child can keep them right in the book while they read!
I Can Read 100 Books! chart from Singing a Song of Sixpence
If you want to do a challenge similar to mine where you want your kids to read a certain number of books, this 100 book chart is a great, simple, option. I think this would be great for younger elementary school kids who can read several books a day. You may want to set a rule like we did that they have to be 100 different books (no repeats!).
Rocketship progress chart from Create in the Chaos
Technically, this isn’t specifically a reading chart, but it would work really well as one. Have your child color a star each time they read a book, and when they get all the way to 50, they get to color the rocketship and earn a prize! I wish I had found this before I started our current challenge with Little Man. I may still print it to use anyway!
Coloring page reading chart from This Reading Mama
If your kids like to color, this fun reading chart will be perfect. It looks like a bookshelf, and each time your child completes a book, they get to color in a book on the shelf. If you want to add in rewards, you could give them a reward coupon every time they color all the books on one shelf (there are 10 books per shelf).
If you need some ideas for some great books to get your kids started this summer, check out some of our family’s favorite books below:
- 10 Laugh-out-loud Funny Children’s Books
- 12 Awesome Alphabet Books
- Best Board Books for Toddlers
- Favorite picture books we discovered in 2016
Oh, and one last thing…if you need a good book for yourself, I’ve been LOVING reading The Book of Joy. It’s a collaboration between the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. Amazing men with an amazing perspective on how to hold onto joy even in the midst of the hardships of life.
So, tell me…what are your reading plans for the summer?