Need a simple way to keep track of your kids’ reading during the summer? Download these free printable summer reading charts to keep kids motivated all summer long!
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Ahh summer. The season of ice-cold popsicles, crackling campfires, sunny days…and sopping wet beach towels left on the bathroom floor (#truth).
Whether you have a bucket list full of adventures or prefer to be more spontaneous and enjoy whatever comes your way, part of the joy of summer is kicking back, letting go of strict school schedules, and having fun!
Still, we want our kids to keep their minds sharp over the summer, and one of the best ways to do that is by encouraging our kids to READ!
Reading builds vocabulary, encourages imagination, increases empathy, and has about a million other benefits. But with all the competing activities of summer, how can we find time to read?
Here are a handful of tried-and-true ideas to keep your kids reading all summer long. These are simple ideas that are meant to be really easy to integrate into your family’s busy life.
Bonus: at the bottom of the post you can snag a copy of the free printable summer reading charts that I’m using with my own kids this year to keep everyone on track!
4 simple ways to get kids to read this summer
#1: Surround them with books
I grew up in a home where you could find a book nearby in any room of the house. As a result, I read a lot. It’s like how health experts always tell you to put your fruits and veggies at eye level so it’s the first thing you see when you open the fridge.
The same philosophy works with books! When your kids are bored, they’ll look around to get ideas of what to do. If they see books, they are more likely to pick one up. It’s the power of suggestion!
Put it in practice: Try setting a few books on your coffee table, or put a basket of books by the couch. Put up some picture book display shelves or stash books in the seat back pockets of your car. You might be surprised by how such a simple thing will lead your kids (and you!) to pick up those books more often.
#2: Build it into your daily routine
If you want something to happen every day, you have to make a regular time for it every day. Summer schedules can sometimes be unpredictable, but think about the routines and rhythms you already have established in your home. There probably are at least a few things you do every day…even the basics like eating and sleeping.
Practice the strategy of habit stacking to add reading to one of the habits that is already part of your daily schedule. Many families read stories at bedtime, but you can build it into other times of the day as well. Maybe for your family it will work better for everyone to snuggle up and read first thing in the morning, or perhaps at the start of quiet time right after lunch. There will still be some days where your routine goes out the window reading won’t happen, and that’s OKAY. But if you have a plan, it WILL happen regularly…and that’s what matters.
Put it in practice: Choose an existing routine in your home, and attach reading time to that habit each day.
#3: Embrace audiobooks
Although listening to audiobooks doesn’t require your child to actually read words on the page, it still gives kids many of the benefits of reading (such as vocabulary development, fluency, and empathy). So, don’t hesitate to push play!
Whenever we go on road trips, I make it a point to download a good audiobook or two to listen to in the car. It’s a great alternative to screen time, and we love listening to all sorts of stories together. Some of our favorites include The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, and Fortunately, The Milk. If you have a LONG car ride, try Peter and the Starcatchers. For a shorter ride, try a story time podcast.
#4: Set reading goals
Each summer, we issue a reading challenge to our kids: each child is to spend 20 minutes per day reading for 50 days each summer. We try to read every day, but because I really want my kids to achieve the goal, I think it’s important to allow some wiggle room for crazy days and vacations. 50 is enough of a challenge that they really have to make it a priority, but it keeps things realistic and fun.
They keep track of their reading on a simple reading chart where they color a circle each day when they finish reading. Even for my son who doesn’t usually like reward charts, this simple system has been a great way to track his progress throughout the summer.
You can make summer reading extra fun by offering a reward for meeting their goal. When our kids achieve their reading goal and complete their summer learning workbooks, they earn a trip to an amusement park near us (Lagoon). We only go once a year, so it’s a big deal to them and it’s a great way to celebrate the end of summer. We’ve been doing this for the past five years, and it’s been a roaring success every time!
Need a way to keep track of your reading goal?
You can download two different printable summer reading charts below!
One is a simple chart with 50 circles on it (this is the one my kids are using this year). Kids can color (or add a sticker) each day they read for 20 minutes. The second reading chart is a bookshelf with 60 books on it. Use whichever works best for your family!
Click the bright green button below to download both versions of the summer reading tracking sheet. Enjoy!
Need some awesome, kid-approved book ideas to catch your kids’ interest? Try one of these!