Use a Summer Book Basket to Keep Kids Reading All Summer Long

Throughout the school year, you’ll most likely find us reading. We read for most school subjects because we use a literature-based curriculum. I’m usually reading a book aloud at some point each day. And the kids are reading their own books that are school-related or for fun. But when we take a homeschooling break in the summer, it’s easy to slack off and not take time to read.

Whether you take a homeschooling break or homeschool year round it’s sometimes a challenge to keep the kids reading throughout the summer. If you’re looking for a good way to do this, a book basket can help you keep your kids reading all summer long.

Using a book basket for summer reading for kids

{Disclosure: I received a free set of summer readers in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.)

Find out how to use a summer book basket to keep the kids reading and read about some great summer reads from Sonlight that my middle school girls are looking forward to in this post. You can also enter to win a giveaway of a set of summer readers from Sonlight. So keep reading.

What is a book basket?

A book basket is a way to feature a few books at a time so that kids can see and use the books easily. If you’re a homeschool mama like me, your book collection may sometimes be a bit overwhelming. I know that I have some great books that the kids never lay eyes on. This can be true for library books as well. When we go and check out books and bring them home in tote bags- where they stay for the duration of our check out period- the kids never see them again. And when the time comes to return them to the library, the kids are exclaiming because they forgot that awesome looking book they picked out and never read it.

A book basket can help to prevent that. It’s a container- we use an actual basket- where you can place a small selection of books that will be easily seen. The idea is to pick a number that isn’t going to be overwhelming with books just throw in on top of each other, but that gives kids a variety of books to read. When my kids were younger and I had multiple ages and reading levels, I tried to include a mix of picture books and chapter books. I can now just include chapter books. And if you have only younger kids, you could just use picture books in your book basket.

Your book basket needs to be put in a prominent place. If you have a schoolroom, you can put it there, but only if kids are going to be in there regularly over the summer. We have a multi-function room as our schoolroom/dining room, so I know that a book basket placed there will be visible. The living room is also a great place to put it because that may be where kids are going to be sitting around or walking through often.

How can a summer book basket keep kids reading?

Make new books visible.

It doesn’t matter if you purchase awesome living books for  your kids to read over the summer if the kids never see the books. All the great library books in the world won’t matter if the kids aren’t actively seeing them and remembering that they are there. When you find new books- whether purchasing them or checking them out of the library- feature those books in your book basket. Making them easily seen and available will encourage kids to read them.

Have a designated book basket time each day.

Whether you’re taking a break over the summer, homeschooling on a modified schedule, or continuing your regular homeschooling schedule, make sure that you have a designated book basket time. This doesn’t have to be a long period of time. Start with thirty minutes each week day. During that time, kids can pick out and read any book in the book basket. As my kids got older and read chapter books, they would pick one book and read it every day for book basket time. When they were younger, they would get several picture books out of the basket each time to keep them busy for the whole thirty minutes. It’s okay for younger non-readers to just look at books during this time. If they are beginning readers, have a few of the very easy books, but also let them pick out more difficult books that they just want to look at.

Using a book basket for summer reading for kids

Have a story time with book basket books.

When the kids were little, I liked to take the book basket books and make a story time occasionally. We would all sit on the floor or couch together and read all the picture books in the book basket. I often took the kids to story time at our library, so we patterned our book basket story time after that. This was a fun way to share good books that I had picked out and really wanted to read with the kids.

Choosing Great Books for Your Book Basket With Sonlight’s Summer Readers

You want the books in your book basket to be really great books, “living books”, in the words of Charlotte Mason. You want the books to have value and to instill good values into the kids that read them. If you’ve walked through the children’s section of a bookstore lately, you may know that it becomes more and more difficult to choose really good books for kids. So many books are based on children’s television shows and movies or have main characters that exhibit bad attitudes and behavior. If you’re looking for really great books to include in your summer book basket, check out Sonlight’s summer readers.

Sonlights summer readers for kids

You may have heard of Sonlight’s literature-based homeschool curriculum. I’ve shared it as one of the complete literature-based homeschool curricula companies that I’ve heard great things about. And now, I’ve seen their summer readers as well.

You can browse their summer readers by level- elementary, middle school, and high school- and then buy sets especially geared toward girls or boys. (And do you know how hard it is to find good books with boy protagonists that boys actually like to read?! I do!)

We received the middle school girls summer reading set for 2018. It came with four great books:

~The First Last Day Haliegh wishes she could stay forever at the New Jersey shore. On the last day of her summer vacation there, she paints this favorite place, and her wish comes true. When she wakes up the next morning, she’s living her last day again! Soon she realizes, however, that this isn’t necessarily as wonderful as she thought it would be. The story has messages of friendship, loss, and dealing with change.

~ 100 Dresses: If the Magic Fits In this fantasy/fairy-tale read, Darling works in the cellar of the castle but is promoted. She finds a closet with 100 dresses. But the dresses are special. When she puts one on, she becomes another person. As she lives life like this person, she tries to stop a takeover of the castle. This is a fun read for fans of fairy tales and fantasy adventures.

~ The Key to Extraordinary There’s a little magic and mystery in this tale of a girl named Emma who is trying to find a treasure in her town’s cemetery. Emma is a brave girl, and she faces danger and adventure and real life problems throughout her story.

~ Spring Break Mistake Avalon wins a spring break getaway trip to New York City from a contest on the PhotoReady app. When she gets to New York, she and her new friends end up having to track down a giveaway contestant who has gone missing. This story is a light mystery.

I love that the set has a variety of genres and styles. I have one child who loves fantasy/fairy tale stories and one that prefers the more real-life, contemporary culture stories. This collection has both. There’s fantasy, mystery, pop culture, magic- something for everyone.

Using a book basket for summer reading for kids

You can check out the middle school girls book set as well as the other Summer Reader sets here.

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