Create Your Own Summer Reading Program ... Includes FREE Printable pack of Reading Record Sheets

Whether you’re a homeschooling family or a traditional schooling family, summertime can be a time when kids want to veg in front of a screen all day. A great way to combat the summer slump and keep kids from getting bored, is to encourage summer reading!

Libraries, and occasionally bookstores and online sites, often offer summer reading programs for kids. Our library system actually offers a reading program for babies all the way through adults! But if you want a custom summer reading program, it’s fairly simple to make your own. You can create a program for your own children, for your homeschool co-op, or even for a neighborhood group.

Free summer reading program

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Here are a few things to keep in mind as you plan your summer reading program. You can also pick up a free packet of summer reading records here. There are a variety of records for counting books, counting hours, or for listing books read. You can choose the records that work best for your program.

Choose a reasonable, personalized summer reading goal.

Some kids can read fifty books over the summer. Some kids might be doing good reading five. Help your children set reasonable reading goals to work toward. And make sure the goals are personalized. Your avid reader might jump wholeheartedly into a reading challenge while your child who struggles with reading balks. Help them each to set goals that will be reasonable for their strengths.

The free reading record packet has several choices for recording reading. One option allows kids to color in books based on the number of books read. One has the option to color books based on hours read. And one has just a place to record titles- for older kids or kids who don’t want to color.

Have kids work toward a predetermined reward.

Our library reading program offers some junkie little awards. I’m not kidding, ya’ll. The kids were impressed when they were younger, but as they’ve gotten older, the rewards have lost their thrill. Determine what reward kids are working toward before you begin your reading challenge.

The reward doesn’t have to be expensive. It just has to be meaningful for your child. I have one child who is in love with our local shaved ice place. For her, an amazing reward would be a trip to get shaved ice. It isn’t pricey. It’s the fact that she loves it that matters.

Plan library days.

Even if you have an impressive home library, you’ll want to plan regular library days for the summer if possible. Kids are often more motivated to read when there are new and different books available.

If you can’t make it to the library regularly, think about doing a book exchange with friends. Have everyone bring a predetermined number of books and then swap for new ones. This is a great way to get some new books for your personal library without having to buy books.

Let the kids choose books to read and then choose some books for them.

I will be the first to admit that my children do not read only twaddle-free, classic children’s literature. They like books that are much lower on the literary totem pole. For the summer reading record I don’t fight this too much. I let them pick books that are of higher interest to them, all while encouraging them to read books I pick occasionally.

If you’re looking for a great resource for finding recommendations of good, living books, make sure you check out my large, free to access, living books catalog here. You can also pick up free summer reading lists for all ages here.

Count books read aloud.

This is an important one, ya’ll. I preach talk about reading aloud often here because I’m passionate about the fact that you need to read to your kids- even your older kids- regularly. It’s a practice that is so valuable in so many ways. One of the main benefits is that it gives you the opportunity to introduce those better quality books we were just talking about.

If you don’t already have a set read aloud time with your kids, set a time for the summer. Then count books you read with the kids toward their reading record. That will give more reluctant readers some help and a push toward meeting their goals.

Free summer reading program

Enjoy your summer. And enjoy reading some great books with the kids and encouraging the kids to read great books independently. Don’t forget to pick up your free summer reading record packet here. And if you’re looking for a way to extend the learning with great books, check out my literature unit study membership- Down the Literature Road.

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