Ideas to Encourage Summer Reading

posted in: Apollo, Kids Activities | 5

Ways to encourage summer reading

My kids are avid readers. This is something that I don’t take for granted. I have seen many friends whose kids don’t enjoy reading the same way mine do; to them, it is a chore. One thing I have noticed over the past year or so though, is that several of my kids have fallen into the habit of reading only comic books, graphic novels, and movie adaptations. While those are all fine, I want them to be reading a wider variety of books. I posted this dilemma over on my blog Facebook page and got a great response, so I decided I would share a few of those ideas here.


Reading Bingo: 

A blog reader suggested Reading  Bingo, and I found Pinterest is ripe with ideas. I created a Summer Learning Board just to collect ideas. There are dozens of great reading bingo ideas and templates. I am thinking of creating my own with books I want my kids to read this summer.

Plan a Movie Night:

This one is obvious, but tons of fun. Pick a book that has a corresponding movie. Once the child (or children) finish to book, have a movie night complete with themed snacks. Or, go the easy route and just serve popcorn and juice. Either way, your kids will have fun and it makes for an easy family night as well. We had fun making this candy sushi a couple of months ago! It would go perfectly with a movie about Japan (we enjoyed them with Big Hero 6).

How to make candy sushi


Read by Theme:

Choose a theme for you the month and let everyone select their own books. Examples are scientist, famous person, country, period of time in history, fiction, non-fiction. The possibilities are endless. I really like the flexibility in this idea. Everyone can find a book they like this way. It would also be fun to have a themed dinner at the end of the month where everyone contributes something that goes along with their individual books! I am getting excited just typing this. If you are up to it, invite grandma and grandpa or the neighbors over, as well. Years ago we had a Japanese themed dinner after studying the country and we all had a blast.

 Pay them to Read

You can either pay them cold, hard cash (one blog reader paid her kids $0.50 per book read). Or how about one cent per page read? You could also pay them in screen time: one minute of reading = one minute of screen time.

Read Aloud to Your Children

It doesn’t matter how old your children are, read to them! My avid readers still love being read too, and I enjoy how it turns a book into an adventure for the whole family. It also builds listening skills and imagination.  We are currently reading A Single Shard in the evening and everyone is enjoying it.

Use Quality Apps

For your new readers and pre-readers, take advantage of the Disney Story Central app. You all know I have been a reluctant adopter of technology for young children. However, it has been invaluable to use during hospital stays and looooong drives to Seattle. Disney Story Central is the widest selection of Disney digital stories. These books are filled with characters your children already know and love. You can customize a profile for each reader and they use tokens to buy books. 1 token = 1 book.

Apollo has really enjoyed picking out books to download. You can purchase tokens, or sign up for Disney Story Central’s subscription for $7.99 per month. Your kids will earn stars and trophies for books read and Apollo loves seeing his progress tracked with gold stars. There are three reading options: have the book “read to me”, “autoplay” and “read by myself”.  The app highlights words as they are read to your child, helping them to grow they sight word vocabulary. Disney Story Central helps kids develop a lifelong love of reading. (You can download the app for free on iTunes!)

And of course, don’t forget to sign up for all of the amazing summer reading programs at your local library, books stores, and participation restaurants. In the past we have done: Barnes and Noble, Pizza Hut’s Read It! and our local libraries summer reading challenge.

Invest in Reading Buddy

Reading Buddy is a great program to encourage reluctant readers

I did a full review of the Reading Buddy program here. The short version is, Avi loved it and it really helped her grow as an independent reader.

Are your kids avid readers or reluctant readers? How do you keep them reading? Do you plan any type of summer learning or just let them play? Please share your thoughts!


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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5 Responses

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Yes, I am going to offer some type of incentive for reading certain books. I haven’t figured out the details but will share when I do.

  1. nourishingmyscholar

    We just started the “Pay them to read” scenario….We pay our son 30 minutes of Minecraft for 30 minutes of reading! He has really taken off 🙂

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      I think that makes perfect sense! Thanks for sharing.

  2. radmama

    I’m an almost obsessive reader. My kids are, well, what’s beyond reluctant? I pick up a book and they scatter! My hope for the future lies in watching my brother go from refusing to read as a kid, to finishing everything in “The Lifetime Reading Plan” in 5 years as an adult. He’s my autodidact hero!

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