The school year is finally coming to an end. Summer is all about splashing in the pool, running in the yard, playing at the park, and relaxing with friends. Reading over the long summer months may not be a priority for your children, but teachers and parents might want to make it one.  Summer reading is a great time to catch up and get ahead on some important reading skills. Research shows that children who don’t read over the summer months lose at least two months of reading development skills. This is often referred to as the summer slide. On the other hand, students who do read a lot over the summer months can gain an entire month of proficiency in reading. It isn’t easy getting kids to read during the summer, but here are 3 ways to get kids reading over the summer vacation.

Take a Family Vacation and Read All About It

Going on a family vacation is a great way to get kids reading. You can start out by having your child read books on the topic before the trip even begins. So for example if you decide you want to go to the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, you can start out with a trip to the library and get a big stack of books that relate to North Carolina. Discuss, plan, and visit the places mentioned in the books. Reading destination related books and including the kids in this part of the research not only gets them excited about the trip but also helps you determine which activities to choose while on your vacation. It also provides a refresher and helpful information for you about the destination.

If you go on a local camping trip, you could research and read about the wildlife or scenery. Reading and researching about the history, culture, and fun places to visit ahead of time, will make your child show so much more interest during the family vacation.  

Pack books to read on the airplane or in the car as you travel to your destination. You can also download audiobooks from your local library and have your children listen to stories. You might not realize it but audiobooks are available for FREE at most public libraries. Listening to stories makes the travel time go by a lot quicker as well as sneaks in some summer reading time.

If you can’t go on a family vacation, just take day trips. Experts have found that novelty stimulates the brain and promotes learning. Visiting a museum, nature centers, historic sites, or parks can really increase brain activity in children. A book about zoo animals will be much more interesting after a day at the zoo.

Join a Summer Reading Program

If you check out your local library or local bookstore, chances are they will have a kid’s summer reading program, book club, or reading contest for kids of all ages. This is usually a great way to encourage kids to read. The kids often have to read a certain amount of books and get prizes and awards for reading them.  

You can always make the reward better by throwing in your own incentive for your kids to meet a summer reading goal as well. These programs usually last around 4 weeks, so that gives your kids a lot of reading practice. Make sure you set aside a day each week to visit and check out books. Keep it a routine throughout the entire summer.

According to the School Library Journal, kids who participate in a summer reading program not only mitigate summer learning loss, but they actually significantly improve their reading skills. In fact, this study showed that kids who participate in these summer reading programs are 52 Lexile points ahead of their peers who do not participate in any reading programs during the summer months.

Many libraries have lists of books broken down by grade level to help guide you. You can also get book recommendations from librarians. Summer reading books shouldn’t be too easy that they are boring, but they also shouldn’t be too difficult that they frustrate your child. Best is if you let your child pick out books at their independent reading level. Research has found that children read more and learn best when they are allowed to select books by themselves. 

If you need some book suggestions by grade level, you can check out the following links:

The ALSC: American Library Association Summer Reading Lists

We are Teachers: 2021 Summer Reading List for Kids and Teens

Understood: Summer Reading for Kids Who Learn and Think Differently

PBS: Children’s Books for Summer Fun


Get Kids Reading by Watching Movies

Plan several Family Movie Nights throughout the summer and make sure that your child always reads the book first. If the books are too hard for your child to read, you can always download them on an audiobook from the library, or read the book aloud to your child.  

Family Movie Night is so much fun and will get your kids reading during the summer. Make a big deal about it. Include junk food with soda, candy, and other treats that you usually never ever give your kids. Believe me they will look forward to these fun nights and read those books ahead of time.

Once your child has read the book and seen the movie, you can start a conversation. Talk about how the book and the movie are similar and different, or how a story differs from two character’s points of view.

A few examples of books that became movies are:

  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • The Jungle Book
  • The Night at the Museum
  • Jumanji
  • The Harry Potter Series
  • The Chronicles of Narnia
  • Matilda
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • James and the Giant Peach
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • The BFG

I Have a Resource for You!

Thank you so much for reading my post today, and I hope it gets your kids reading over the summer. If you enjoyed this post today, you might also enjoy my previous posts:

My Favorite Sight Word Activities

How to Find Your Child’s Reading Level

The Reading Curriculum that Can Change Everything For Your Struggling Homeschooler This Year!


Please don’t leave without checking out the PRIDE Reading Program. The PRIDE Reading Program is an Orton-Gillingham curriculum that is used by teachers, tutors, and homeschooling parents worldwide with great success.

PRIDE Reading Program

Do you have any activities that get kids reading over the summer? Please share in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!


Karina Richland, M.A., is the author of the PRIDE Reading Program, a multisensory Orton-Gillingham reading, writing and comprehension curriculum that is available worldwide for parents, tutors, teachers, and homeschoolers of struggling readers. Karina has an extensive background in working with students of all ages and various learning modalities. She has spent many years researching learning differences and differentiated teaching practices. You can reach her by email at info@pridereadingprogram.com or visit the website at www.pridereadingprogram.com

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