Summer is finally here! I can’t wait to get out into the garden and plant my summer veggies and colorful flower garden. I’m a pretty intense gardener, and I have some pretty happy little helpers that like to come and dig in the dirt with me. On today’s post, I am going to share some wonderful ways of connecting reading and gardening with all that digging in the dirt all summer long.  

1. Grow a Pizza Topping Garden

Kids love pizza. So how about combining gardening with pizza and throwing in some reading activities along the way. If you have a small plot of dirt, you can use that. You can also build a raised bed. I have a tiny backyard, so I grow everything in pots. Any type of garden, big or small will be a learning experience for your child. For your pizza topping garden, your kids might like to grow:

  • Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Rosemary

2. Start With Some Research

Starting a pizza topping garden requires some research. Research means reading. Find reading and gardening books on soil, compost, bugs and worms and pollinators. Head over to your local library… there are so many books that discuss plants, farms, flowers and bugs. Include these in your reading routines to prepare your child but also get them excited about their upcoming gardening project.

3. Read the Seed Packets

The seed packets will explain how far apart to plant each seed and how frequently to water the plant. It will also explain how much sun the plant needs and more details on growing the plants from seeds. Make sure you don’t throw the seed packets away – you might need to keep reviewing and rereading those packets to remember the growing details.

4. Read to Your Plants

I’m sure you have heard about reading to your stuffed animals, or reading to dogs in shelters.  But reading to plants? Yup! Encourage your kiddos to read to their plants. They will grow faster and bigger than ever. Plants love hearing a human voice – so give your child a stack of favorite books and get them reading in the garden. Here is a suggestion of some garden-themed books your child might enjoy:

5. Read the Recipes and Cook Together

Harvesting those delicious pizza toppings will mean making a pizza together. Yum! This is where gardening and reading pay off. You can start by reading some recipes together. Recipes provide a wonderful introduction to instructional texts. Reading recipes also requires step by step organization and direction. I often send my kids to the cookbooks (or pinterest page) and have them scan recipes they like and pick out their favorites. There are so many interesting words to learn when cooking. There are also a lot of processes to read about, such as dicing, chopping, whisking, kneading, measurements and temperatures.


6. Capture the Memories

Spending the summer reading and gardening will create amazing memories for you and your family. So why not put it all together in one big memory book that the entire family can enjoy.  You can have your child document and reflect on the development of the garden. Your child can take photographs of their pizza topping garden, as it is growing and as they eat their delicious homegrown pizza toppings. If you have a child that could use a little writing practice over the summer, have them write a weekly or daily journal entry to include in their memory book. Use some drawings in there as well.  If you and your child are crafty, press flowers and herbs for a memory. Get really creative and make a movie.




During the long summer months is the perfect opportunity to teach and practice reading and gardening. It is so much fun. It is so healthy. It is so delicious. And… it is also educational.

Thank you for reading my post today!

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 or visit the website at

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