Summer is a hectic time with changes to your daily routines. A week at camp or a family vacation can throw your normal schedule off big time. Luckily it doesn’t have to be complicated to encourage your kids to read regularly.
This printable summer reading log will help motivate children to read in a simple manner. It doesn’t require anything fancy; all you do is set up a goal and reward for your kids to work toward, then mark their progress with stickers or markers.
Teachers always encourage us to have our children read and continue to learn throughout the summer, so they don’t experience “summer learning loss” and have to relearn things when they start back to school in the fall.
I grew up with my nose always in a book, thanks to my mom and grandmother passing down their love for reading. But I distinctly remember one thing that helped to really foster my love of books – a summer reading program at our local library.
We earned coupons for free ice cream cones as a reward for reading and the more we read, the greater the reward. My siblings and I really wanted that ice cream, so we read a lot. It was a great incentive for kids and it was simple for my mom.
Now that I have my own kids, they all enjoy reading too and I’m always looking for great new (or classic) books to share with them and (trying) to prioritize time for reading.
It always sounds so simple, especially when summer first begins, but somehow the summer months fly by and we find our kids haven’t read nearly as much as we had intended. At least that’s how it happens – or used to – with my children.
But that’s where this free printable reading log comes in.
What is a reading log?
A reading log is simply a method of tracking books a child has read. It can be as simple as checking off how many books are read or include more detail, such as the name of the book and author, or even a short summary of the book. It can be online, in a fancy chart version, or a basic reading log sheet.
How to Make a DIY Summer Reading Program
Just like my childhood library, you can easily create your own DIY summer reading program right at home.
One town we used to live in didn’t have a summer reading program. Technically they did, but there were no rewards – “the reward was reading itself” the library said. Um, that’s kinda lame when you’re trying to encourage our tv-video game-internet addicted culture to foster the love of reading.
Let’s face it – kids, just like us adults, need a little motivation! And there’s nothing wrong with that.
A few years ago, we set our own summer reading program using this simple reading log and reward system.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- stickers, colored dots, washi tape, or colorful markers
- our free printable summer reading chart
How to Make this Reading Chart Work for Your Kids
Step 1. Print one copy of the reading log for each child.
Set your printer to landscape mode first.
Step 2. Write your child’s name
There is space provided at the top of the reading log. Or have your child write their own name!
Step 3. Decide how many books your child should read
There are a few ways you can make this printable reading incentive chart work for your family. I recommend you personalize it for each child based on their reading skill level.
My oldest will read anything he can get his hands on. He’s also very fast, so it’s no big deal to read one or two novels in a day.
On the other hand, my youngest child is a newer reader and it takes her longer to finish a book.
I also have two more children who are 10 and 12 right in between.
Here are some awesome book ideas for kids ages 9-12.
Decide how many books you want your child to read in each reward tier.
Nathan will have 10 books, Emily will have 6, Joshua will have 2-3 novels or 5-6 other books, and Luke will read 4-5 of his own books.
Step 4. Assign awards for each child.
Here are a few ideas for rewards:
- something from the dollar store
- ice cream cone
- a new book (we visit our local used book store)
- personal pizza
- even money, like $1 or something small (this may appeal to older kids)
- special privilege – for example: reduced chores for a day or a later bedtime
- something special with mom or dad – ie a trip to the store alone or a favorite activity (Emily loves baking with me)
- dollar bins at Target
- as a bigger item for LOTS of books read at the end of the summer, maybe a smallish toy they’ve been wanting
- a family ice cream sundae party at the end of the summer
I recommend writing the rewards in the reading logs, so the kids can see what they’re working toward. You could also use stickers (an ice cream or pizza sticker, etc.) for more fun.
5. Track progress
To mark the kids’ progress as they read books, use stickers or avery dots (I had tons leftover from our move last summer).
Or you could make a simple star or check mark with a colored marker.
For fast readers, like my 12-year-old, you may want to require them to give you a short synopsis of the book to make sure they actually did read it. You can use our more detailed free printable reading logs here.
A summer reading program for kids can be so much fun and is a great way to encourage kids to love reading.
Get yours here:
And I’ve found that sometimes the mere fact that one child was close to reaching a reward gave my other kid incentive to read more!
Whatever you do, summer is a great time to encourage kids to read and using your own printable reading chart is a great way to do it!
A summer reading program for kids can be so much fun and is a great way to encourage kids to love reading. Use this handy free printable for your kids and you’ll be amazed at how much they’ll read!
Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says
Here our kids get assigned summer reading from school, but this is awesome for those school systems who don’t do that.
Dee Mauser says
Giving kids a variety of activities like this throughout their summer break is a great way to keep their minds from turning to mush while they’re out of school. Making it fun, rather than tedious work helps them learn and they don’t even realize it.
What a cute idea to get your kids excited about reading! My mom did something similar with us kids during the summer and I always loved it!
Stacey- Travel Blogger says
I think summer reading programs are important. It’s important to keep your brain hard a work, even if you aren’t in school!
This is an AWESOME idea and I think we are going to do this with our oldest!
Amy Desrosiers says
This would be very helpful for my girls! They need that extra boost to get them reading.
SHELLEY R ZUREK says
Also, something you might add is that they choose their own books but that you or someone else (like grandma or big brother) gets to choose one of the books too. That way they expose themselves to new authors/topics that they might not have realized they would like.
Ann Bacciaglia says
My kids have always loved to read. Even now as teenagers my daughter loves to go to the bookstore with me to see what she can find.
I am totally printing this off for my little man. I need something to push him to read and this is perfect. We just purchased about four chapter books for him to start the Summer off with, so we are on our way, right? Thanks for the printable.
Elizabeth Lampman says
A summer reading program is a great idea. It is so important for kids to keep their brain active during the summer vacation.
Liz Mays says
That’s a really cool idea! It would be fun to come up with some cool rewards specific to your child’s tastes.
This is such a great idea. Kids love to have a visual and to be rewarded for their work and this printable makes it so simple!
Now this is an amazing idea to keep them reading during the summer. My daughter is in grade one and I don’t want her to lose what she learned
Tammy Roy says
This is a great printable. It is important to keep the kids reading over the summer break.
Autumn @Mamachallenge says
This is great! I have been trying to get my son to read more. I will try this!
Vera Sweeney says
I love this idea!! Summer time can be a struggle to get the kids into reading. I think my kids would really like this idea!!
I started making my kids read at least 20 minutes before the T.V can come on in the morning. So far it is working out well.
Aimee SMith says
I LOVE this idea! We always do the summer reading program at our local library, but my kids are total book worms so they always blow through it! I can keep them going on our own program now!
Felicita Moncada says
I love, love this! What a great way to keep the kids reading this summer! My son is going to 2nd grade so he will need to do a lot of reading to prepare for the next school year.
Lucky for me, my kids have a strong natural ability to pick up reading. With 3 kids its hard to read to them and have them read, but I am always impressed at how much they grow. Reading is worth the effort, even if its less than you think is right, just do some reading and make your kids read too! 🙂 Happy summer!
Lena Burkut says
Tha is such a great idea. I know for sure, my kids don’t read enough in summer
Sweet Lurcher says
Wow I can’t believe your 12-year-old could already read so fast! 🙂 I think mine technically can, but just wouldn’t. 🙁 But with the help of this planner, I think I could get the kids to read more! And yes maybe I will capitalize on my kids’ competitive nature, like, make it a race or something? Do you think that would work just as fine?
Thank you, Erika!
Sarah Gotheridge says
I love the idea of having summer activities with kid, I especially go to park for riding bicycle with my 2 daughters every summer and it is a memorable time always.
Mommy of 10 says
Our library has a summer reading program which my family really appreciates. We also have a local bank that will open a savings account for children (ages birth -grade 12) and for every two books read they will put $1:00 into the account. Little ones who can’t read can be read to. My kids totally dig the idea of reading for money. As a mom of 10, it would be difficult to do this without help from my library and other local businesses that sponser the program.
Adam S. says
My boys will definitely be reading more this summer. Even though it is hard for them to put down their Xbox and tablet , they most get in some essential studying this summer.
Best Trampolines says
My kids totally dig the idea of reading for money, Really great idea.
best hoverboard says
I love these reading charts – simple but fun! My kids love to read during the summer holidays, especially when the weather isn’t great (which happens a lot where I live!)
My sons will absolutely love this, they love to stay active. Thanks for the tip, i truly appreciate it.
Alden Smith says
I love this idea!! Summer time is the best time to enjoy with your kids.
Activities like this helps kids keep fit and mentally agile. The benefits far outweigh the seeming risks.
Jem Tumbaga says
Thanks for this! A great help for us, I’m part of Childhope Philippines, a non-government organization or NGO for children in the Philippines. We work to promote the welfare, uphold, and protect children’s rights, particularly children in street situations. And I’m currently looking for different materials, tools and ideas to use to help street children in their education. And this is a great help! Thanks for this!