Summer has officially begun for us, and I am looking forward to a different pace. While the summer won’t contain the busy, “Go, go, go!” attitude, I still want to add rhythm and structure. Part of my goal is to continue to promote a love of reading throughout this season. These creative summer reading ideas will help kick start your own family into fun learning even though the school year is officially over.
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Creative Summer Reading Ideas
As a former teacher, I find the value in finding creative ways to keep children interacting with literature. We are following a similar program to my friend Becky’s “No Screen-Time Until…” One of the ideas is “No screen-time until you have read for at least 20 minutes.” We are definitely adhering to that idea. In that, I want to have normal quiet reading time. I want to be reading out loud to my kids during that time also. I also see creative summer reading ideas that take a reading experience to the next level of engagement.
Library Reading Program
Have you headed to your local library to sign up for the summer reading programs available there? We just went last week and got our kids their first library card. We signed up for the reading program, which offers incentives for kids completing 5, 10 or 15 hours of reading. There are bonus activities, and you can pick up a calendar of all the happenings over the summer. Our kids are looking forward to the movie day and magic show the most.
Integrate Snack and Reading
Find creative ways to integrate reading and snack time. See how we did it here. It takes a little bit of planning and creativity, but you can come up with all kinds of ideas to enjoy and engage with your favorite books and favorite snacks.
Take Your Books Outdoors
With sunnier weather, pack a picnic in your picnic basket with your favorite books and get outside. If you want books about picnics, why not try Teddy Bears’ Picnic or We’re Going on a Picnic. You don’t even need to pack a picnic. Just throw an outdoor blanket under a tree in the yard and just lay with your kids to enjoy a book together.
Start a Neighborhood Kid Book Club
Want to inspire friends to make reading a part of their summer too? Why not create a neighborhood kid book club? Make it a fun time for kids to gather with snacks, questions and conversations about a chosen age-appropriate, engaging book. Kids can experience the love of reading with their friends, adding more depth to the experience.
Read with Your Kids
It’s tempting, in summer, to use reading time as quiet time where you can get a bit of a break too. I have absolutely no problem with that. I actually think it’s a brilliant way to get some down time for mom in the summer. You can model the love of reading by using that time to read yourself. That said, I also think there is something said to reading time as a family, where you as the parent are the one reading to them. Be engaging in inflection and energy, and ask meaningful questions as you go along.
Focus on Books that Work on Character with a Weekly Tea Party
A friend of mine is hosting a weekly tea party for her girls and their friends this summer. The kids will gather to focus on a character trait. I have a great resource for you if you are inspired by the idea. If you are not familiar with my character development series, you can check out all the traits we work on here. Each of these character traits has a post that contains a list of books relating to that trait. Here is an example for books that focus on responsibility.
I also want to give some links to my favorite books about character development in case you like the activity of the tea party with a focus on character.
Suzy Swoof: A Book About Kindness (Building Christian Character)
My character development series has 7-9 activities with each trait, so there are other crafts or ideas to do at your tea party.
If you have a boy who is not interested in a tea party, you can have man camp, focusing on character traits that make a man great.
Create a Movie or Play about the Books Read
Kids love using technology, and products like a selfie stick to use with a regular camera phone or even a GoPro will inspire kids to engage with the books they are reading in a creative, new way. Whether it’s a short story that inspires a short movie or play or longer novel that requires a lot more effort, kids will love using costumes, sets/scenery and props to make books come alive.
Books About Summer
It’s summertime, so why not take time to read books about summer. I am interested in looking at and exploring some of these books this summer, but know that I have not read many of them so cannot recommend from experience.
I hope this list of ideas for summer reading inspires your literature plans this season. Enjoy this time with your kids.