Two young girls are outside in a field. They are laying on a blanket, looking at the same book.

10 Tips to Maintaining a Summer Reading Routine

June 24, 2024

Summer break promises fun, relaxation, and adventure but can also disrupt the reading habits cultivated during the school year. Maintaining a consistent reading routine can be challenging as families navigate irregular schedules, competing activities, and the allure of screens and outdoor play. Yet, the benefits of summer reading are too significant to ignore. From preventing the “summer slide” in literacy skills to strengthening family bonds and fostering a lifelong love of learning, a summer reading habit is a gift that keeps on giving. In this post, we’ll explore 10 practical tips to help your family overcome common obstacles and make reading an enjoyable and integral part of your summer experience.

Why Is Maintaining a Summer Reading Routine Important?

Limits the Summer Slide

The National Education Association’s study on the importance of summer reading highlighted that continued reading improves reading success and limits the “summer slide.” Regular reading during summer helps children retain and even improve their literacy skills. Without consistent practice, students can lose up to 2-3 months of reading progress over the summer break, which can have a cumulative effect over the years.

Strengthens family bonds

Shared reading experiences create opportunities for quality family time. Reading fosters communication and shared interests and creates lasting memories.

Cultivates a lifelong love of learning

Establishing a summer reading routine helps instill the habit of regular reading, which can lead to a lifelong love of books and learning. This curiosity and thirst for knowledge can benefit children (and adults) in numerous aspects of life, from academic success to personal growth.

Here are 10 tips to keep reading part of your summer plans

Create a Reading Schedule

Set aside specific times during the day for reading. Whether it’s in the morning before everyone else wakes up, during your lunch break, or in the evening before bed, having a designated reading time can help establish a routine. Create a reading basket with everyone’s current reads in one place. It provides easy access and limits the “where did I put that?” questions—as long as everyone returns the book when done.

Bring Books Everywhere

Whether heading to the beach, a park, or a road trip, always have a book with you. You never know when you’ll have some downtime to dive into a good story – especially with unexpected summer traffic patterns.

Join a Summer Reading Challenge

Check out local and DoD libraries for summer reading challenges for people of all ages. Local and country-wide bookstores also host summer reading challenges, which tend to be age-specific. Participating in these challenges can provide motivation and a sense of community as you work towards your reading goals. As a bonus, you can win some cool prizes and even more books!

Mix Up Your Reading Spots

While it’s nice to read in a cozy spot at home, try reading outdoors in a hammock, under a tree, or at a local cafe. Changing your environment can keep things fresh and exciting.

Pair Reading with Other Activities

Pairing reading with other summer activities can make it feel less of a chore. For example, listen to audiobooks while walking, hiking, or read a book during an outdoor picnic while soaking up the sun.

Explore Different Genres

Summer is a great time to explore new genres and authors. Whether you’re into mystery, romance, science fiction, or fantasy, there’s something for everyone. Don’t hesitate to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Ask your local librarian for suggestions.

Set Realistic Goals

Set achievable reading goals for yourself over the summer. Whether it’s a certain number of books you want to read or a specific list of titles you want to tackle, having a goal can help keep you motivated but make it realistic. Consider each family member’s current reading level, interests, and habits. Use our printable reading logs to stay on track.

Join or Start a Book Club

Joining a book club or starting one with friends can provide accountability and a sense of camaraderie. Plus, it’s a great way to discover new books and engage in lively discussions.

Make Reading a Family Activity

If you have kids, make reading a family activity by setting aside time each day for family reading. You can take turns reading aloud or sit together and read independently.

Stay Flexible and Have Fun

Remember that the goal is to enjoy reading, so don’t stress if you miss a day or don’t finish a book as quickly as you’d like. Stay flexible and have fun exploring new worlds and stories.

Here are books across several categories and genres from the United Through Reading library to get your summer reading list started:
Fiction: Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems for the younger crowd, A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L’Engle for readers 8-12, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen for ages 10-14+

Autobiography: Follow Your Dreams, Little One by Vashti Harrison for babies to toddlers; the I Am series including I am Jackie Robinson or I Am Marie Curie by Brad Meltzer for early elementary; Fly Girls: The Daring American Women Who Helped Win WWII by P. O’Connell Pearson for older children and adults

Bedtime Stories: I Love You to the Moon and Back by Amelia Hepworth, On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman, The Monster at the End of the Book by Jon Stone – bedtime stories are great for children of all ages

Books for Reluctant Readers: Best Friends for Frances by Russell and Lillian Hoban, Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown, Magic Tree House #15: Viking Ships at Sunrise by Mary Pope Osborne

Non-Fiction: Oh Say Can You Say Di-no-saur? by Bonnie Worth, Me and the Sky: Captain Beverly Bass, Pioneering Pilot By Beverly Bass, National Geographic Kids: Weird Sea Creatures by Laura Marsh

Military families can make storytime recordings with these eBooks, which are preloaded on our free app: Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert for pre-readers, Hooray for Books for early readers, and Twenty-One Steps: Guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by Jeff Gottesfeld for older readers.

Happy summer reading!

Our literacy tips are brought to you by Reader’s Digest Foundation.