On the Children's Shelf: Summer Reading Ideas

It's almost time for summer reading! There are so many reasons we love summer reading. My children love the freedom of picking any book they want. They can read as much or as little as they would like, and some days are big reading days, and others are little reading days, and that's okay. They can try a book that's beyond their level. They can revisit old friends in favorite books from when they were little.

A few ideas to make summer reading amazing:

1. Visit library book sales. I love being able to say "pick any books you want," and at $1 or so a book, it is still an inexpensive afternoon. Or go on the last day when they have amazing deals like fill a bag with books for $5.

2. Get kids their own library cards. Mine are hoping this is the summer they will be old enough and responsible enough for their own library cards (and I can't wait to surprise them with that milestone trip to the library).

3. Sign up for summer reading through your library. At our library, the children receive prizes for every 10 books they read. If your library doesn't have a summer reading program, buy a few fun little items (pencils, erasers, thinking putty) and start your own summer reading challenge.

4. Start of summer surprise. They come home from school that last day and are so excited for the freedom summer brings, and 5 minutes later they are telling you they are bored. Be prepared with a start of summer surprise...some books, some water toys (mine got a water balloon kit last year that was the biggest hit).

5. Encourage your children to revisit favorite books. I love listening to my kids still laugh out loud when rereading Piggie & Elephant. Those books never get old in our house despite the fact that my children are well past the Piggie & Elephant target audience age.

6. Throw a book party. My kids love to have a party and especially love a theme. Dress up as your favorite character. Have a Harry Potter party...watch the movie, wear your house colors, and drink butter beer.

7. Donate old books. This might seem like the odd item on this list, but I've found that when we go through their bookshelves and donate books, my children find several books they meant to read but completely forgot about. Plus, I like balancing something new coming into the house with something old we no longer use going out.

8. Pick a book to read as a family read-aloud. This summer we plan to read "Fablehaven" by Brandon Mull aloud. There's something magical about reading books aloud. Maybe we will even light a fire and make s'mores during our read-aloud.

9. Read a book your child recommends to you. My children love recommending books to me, and they get so excited when they see me reading their recommendations. It seems to make them excited to read more and find another great book to recommend.

10. Just have fun. Summer reading should be fun. No worry about reading for set times or the just right book. No pressure. Just enjoy.

Photo of book sign by Jessica Collins