Summer is the perfect time to encourage kids to read books and hopefully love it too! I’ve created a fun summer reading program for kids that you can use right at home and customize to your own family. There’s even a free printable chart!
I grew up with my nose always in a book, thanks to my mom and grandma passing down their love for reading. But I distinctly remember one thing that help to really foster that 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 great incentive for kids and it was simple for my mom.
Now that I have my own kids, I’m hoping to pass down that love of reading to another generation. So far, Nathan’s been bitten by the book bug (he devours books like there’s no tomorrow) and Emily is fast behind him.
The town we used to live in didn’t have a summer reading program. Technically they did, but there was 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!
So my husband and I made up our own little summer reading program for the kids with a simple chart and reward system.
Our kids loved it. And I loved how simple it was.
This year, I’ve created a new summer reading chart for the kids and they’re just as excited as me to use it.
How To Do a Summer Reading Program for Kids:
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!
Here’s what you’ll need:
Right click, save the image below, and print. Make sure your printer is set to “landscape” printing.
Print one chart for each child and add their name to the top. You can even open the chart in PicMonkey and add the names using a fun font!
There’s a few ways you can do a summer reading program and I recommend you personalize it for each child based on their reading skill level.
My oldest, Nathan, is 12 and reads 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, Emily is a newer reader and it will take her longer to read a chapter book than her older brother.
Joshua (he’s finishing kindergarten) is a beginner reader so he will also be on a different schedule than his siblings.
And Luke isn’t reading at all, but I’ll be reading plenty of books to him this summer.
Decide how many books you want each child to read in each reward tier.
Nathan will have 10 books, Emily will have 2-3 novels or 5 shorter (level 3 or above) books, Joshua will do 5 of his short readers, and Luke will probably have 5-10 books read with Mom.
Assign awards for each child.
Here’s 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 – example: reduced chores for a day
- 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 read books 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 summer reading chart so the kids can see what they’re working toward. You could also use (affiliate links) stickers (an ice cream or pizza sticker, etc.) for more fun or even print and tape on some clip art pictures from online.
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. (I figured this out when Nathan reported 5 books read in one afternoon.)
A summer reading program for kids can be so much fun and is a great way to encourage kids to love reading.
Don’t think of it as one more thing to do this busy summer – the rewards themselves should be good incentive to get the kids reading without you needing to constantly remind them!
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 making your own summer reading program is a great way to do it!