Summer is my favorite season for reading. In summer we shed the responsibilities of the school year and enjoy reading for the pure fun of it.
There are a number of great printable and lists out there on the internet, and I’ll give you a list of some great ones at the end of this post. But first, I wanted to share what we use in our house for making summer reading fun!
A few years ago, I came across these great printables created by Chickabug for HowDoesShe, and decided to give the program a try. I have used them every year since. I absolutely love them, and so do my kids. With a six-year age gap, I love that these can be modified for each kid without having to make significant changes, or mix in other resources.
How we use them has changed and evolved as reading levels, schedules and resources have changed over the years. This year we are following the original instructions and adding in a prize basket.
For the 8-year-old: after completing a book, he is required to draw a picture on one side, and write 3 sentences on the front. (i.e. I like/don’t like this book because it is_________. This story is about ______________. My favorite part/character was _____.)
For the 14-year-old: after completing the book she will draw a detailed picture on the back and write a book review on the front. Her review must contain these 5 parts – hook the reader, describe the plot, state your opinion, compare & contrast, give a rating.
Completed book flags hang from a line of twine strung up across their bedroom. Each completed book flag earns a prize – think boxed candy, dollar tree trinkets, sketch books, art supplies, sunglasses, silly string, glow sticks, coloring books, etc.
BINGO Cards & Coupons
I LOVE THESE! These cards push the kids out of their comfort zones, and takes our reading habits and shakes them up. I especially love to see how the kids try to check off as many squares in a single reading session (reading on a Wednesday, after dinner, out loud, in pajamas, while wearing a hat, sitting on the floor, with the TV off, in the living room).
For the 8-year-old: we stick with the pre-filled cards knowing that these are attainable tasks for him.
For the 14-year-old: this year I have pushed her a little further by customizing the blank card. The goal this year was to pull her not only outside of the house, but to pull her out of her bedroom & off of her phone (without me spending the summer saying “get off your phone” all day every day). I mixed in situational reading tasks from the other cards, along with specific books & book types. This is to get her trying new genres, and discovering new authors. I also allotted a square to her summer assignment for her Honor English class next year. Finally, I noted that the time requirement at the top of the card only applies to the situational tasks.
For each task completed a kid will color in the appropriate squares until they get a BINGO (five in a row). A BINGO earns a coupon. Coupons are pulled from a hat, and can be good for a variety of things: a round of mini-golf, a movie night at home, a new book, a bonus prize from the prize box, a free BINGO card square, an ice-cream treat, etc.
The Golden Ticket
Blackout the BINGO card, and win the Golden Ticket! I make this our grand finale for the summer, and try to make sure it is something highly desirable for both kids. Over the years it’s been different based on the current finances and opportunities. Based on your budget you can do theme park tickets, a day trip to the local mountains, a day at the science center or museum, a day at the water park, a beach bonfire, a trip to the movie theatre or drive-in, a family picnic at the park, etc. You know what motivates your kids, so get creative.
Reading is a big part of our family life all year long, but I love that summer offers us an opportunity to mix things up & stretch our literary adventures. Obviously, summer reading has educational benefits, and as a homeschooler that is definitely on my mind when I plan out the summer, but I try to ensure that we keep this program fun and focused on enjoyment. After all, It is SUMMER VACATION.
Raising readers is about fostering a soul-deep love of reading that carries beyond school assignments and summer prizes.
Here are some other summer reading resources I think are pretty amazing!