A child reads a book by flashlight under their bedcovers

10 Ways to Keep Your Kids Connected to Reading This Summer

July 17, 2023

Whether you are looking to prevent the Summer Slide or make this your family’s best reading year yet, keeping your kids connected to reading over the summer months offers practical solutions to both.

1. Join a Book Club
Book clubs can be a great way to experience reading in a social setting. Book clubs do not have to be long-standing institutions. They can also be single events based on the collective reading of any particular book. Think outside the lines and consider doing a multi-generational book club with neighbors or extended family members across the miles.

2. Have a Nightly Family Read Aloud
Family read-alouds can help not only connect kids to books and reading but also help keep kids and parents finding connections through shared stories. Make reading together before the kids go to bed part of the summer nightly ritual. If a parent is deployed or separated by physical distance, there’s a solution for that! Download UTR’s app to save your storytime moments to never miss a beat on the nightly read-aloud.

3. Start a New Series and Buy the First Book
Summer is the perfect time to help get your kids hooked on their next favorite author or book series. It may sound like bribery, but offering to buy your child a new book and build out a collection might just be the motivation they need to get started. It’s easy enough to order a book online, but don’t overlook the pomp and circumstance of making a visit to your local bookstore as a formalized event. Pair that with stopping for ice cream or a shaved ice treat, and you won’t have any complaints from your kids!

4. Load Up the Audiobook Queue
Perhaps your family doesn’t plan to spend much time at home or in your local area. Never fear! If you’re hitting the road this summer, keep things bookish by having a readily available supply of audiobooks. Hearing a story read well by a favorite author or narrator will capture the entire family’s attention.

5. Buy a Reading Light and Extend Summer Bedtime
For many, the routines and rituals of the school year go out the door for summer. This includes the usual early bedtimes your children may keep. One way to find a middle ground for tired parents and not-quite-ready-for-sleep children is to incentivize staying up later with extra reading time in bed. Empower kids with their very own rechargeable book light will allow them to have quiet reading time as they settle in for bed. Maybe you’ll even let them stay up as late as they want as long as they’d like if they are particularly immersed in a good book.

6. Write Your Own Stories
A creative solution for when your kids may tire of reading books or listening to audiobooks is to encourage them to create their very own stories. There are a variety of online story prompts available, as well as fun story starter tools like Story Cubes that inspire imagination-fueled storytelling. Writers are readers first, and readers write; the two activities go hand in hand and complement each other well.

7. Visit the Library
Does the lure of cool, crisp indoor air conditioning and another engaged adult reading your child a story sound like a respite from the summer heat and burden of summer parenting? If so, then you are in luck with your local library. Not only do these havens of endless books offer more inventory than your child could possibly ever exhaust, but also, a library is a place where you will find helpful suggestions, story time, summer reading programs, and many educational opportunities.

8. Build a Summer Routine that Starts With Books
Summer can be a great time to take a breather from the demands of the school year, but some parents find that no structure at all only works temporarily. Whether it is competing professional demands, beating boredom, or simply finding comfort in the predictability of your days, summer reading routines can be very flexible but impactful.

9. Pick a New Genre to Try
It’s easy to get into reading ruts for both grown-ups and kids alike. Summer is the perfect time to get adventurous and try a new-to-you genre. Make it a summer of fiction, or find a historical era to deep dive. Maybe summer is the season for graphic novels or picture books only! Fantasy, poetry, science fiction, or even literature genres can introduce new interests and ideas!

10. Watch a Movie Based on a Book
There’s no greater time to compare movies vs. books with your kids than over the school break. Find a superhero tale to read and then stream its counterpart on Disney+. Or do a Harry Potter book and movie marathon where you read each book and then watch the movie. Need other ideas and inspiration? Check out books by Roald Dahl that have been made into major motion pictures like Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The BFG. Then, for fun, do a dinner-time debate where every family member has to defend his or her take on which was better, the book or the movie.

Our Literacy Tips are presented by Reader’s Digest Foundation.