Getting your kids to read: Strategies to Try for the Summer

Blog posts Getting your kids to read

With so many fun activities vying for your kid’s attention, it can be tough to convince them to pick up a book. But fear not! We've got you covered with some absolutely fabulous tried-and-tested strategies that are bound to engage even the most reluctant readers.

From interactive reading challenges to book clubs and beyond, these tips will help your child discover the joy of getting lost in a good story. It’s time to grab a drink, kick back, and dive into some seriously engaging ways to get those pages turning! 

How do you keep your kids reading?

It’s a question many parents ask, but with a little creativity, you can help your kids avoid the "summer slide" and stay on top of their reading skills. At Once Upon a Book Club, we are all about bringing books to life, and opening children to the wonderful world of books is one of our priorities. This is why we have started our first-ever middle grade book box subscription. It’s filled with everything you need to get your kids hooked on books!

Create a special reading spot

We all love having a special place we can escape to with a great cup of tea, and children are no different. Creating a special reading spot in your home is the perfect way to build up your child’s excitement about the prospect of reading this summer.

It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or cost you an arm and a leg. A wonderful bean bag or comfortable chair in an unused corner will do just fine. Add a throw, a pillow, and that side table with a jar of cookies, and you are on your way. All that’s missing is the books – an empty box strategically placed is just waiting to be filled, which takes us on to strategy number two.

Books for the summer

That box needs to be filled, and we can’t think of a better outing than shopping for books. Whether you’re heading to your local bookstore, the library, or shopping online, it’s all about making it exciting. Regular visits to the library or bookstore are always a great way to encourage and incentivize your child to read; after all, you need to finish reading what is in the box before heading out for more!

Choose a book from each genre (this is a great way to introduce them to different genres), by the cover or title. You can look for series, trilogies, mysteries, action, or whatever appeals. Remember, reading is not only about fiction; let them grab a recipe book for kids and encourage them to read the recipe, make the shopping list, and do the shopping and the cooking – no interference from Mom! These are great opportunities for one-on-one time with your child, creating memories that will last forever.

Let’s get reading!

If your child isn’t an enthusiastic reader, don’t despair, there is nothing like a challenge or competition to get the reading flowing. Yes, we’re talking about reading challenges and rewards. There are so many options; you can set a reading goal for the summer with an exciting reward waiting at the end. 

Another great way is to keep track of your child’s progress on a reading chart and have small rewards along the way, like stickers or candy. But why not turn it into a competition with siblings or friends? Whoever reads the most books or reaches their reading goal first gets the prize.

And finally, let's not forget about our local libraries. They truly are a treasure trove when it comes to motivating children to read. We love their summer reading programs; they always managed to incentivize reading with lots of fun and fabulous rewards.

With a little creativity, you can get your child excited about reading this summer!

Make Reading Fun with Book Clubs

Book clubs are a great way to get your middle grader excited about reading. Everyone loves having friends over, and who knows, it may become a lifelong club. We’d love to be there when they have their 20-year reunion!

Here are our top 5 tips for the perfect book club:

  • It is all about choosing the right book, making sure it's age appropriate and captures their interest.
  • We recommend keeping it small otherwise, it can get out of hand; we have found between 5 and 8 members works well.
  •  Create a list of questions ahead of time so that you keep the discussion focused and on track.
  • Make sure to encourage everyone to participate, as there are always 1 or 2 shy or less confident children in a group.
  • Make it fun! Book clubs should be enjoyable for everyone, so planning some activities or games related to the book goes a long way to adding that fun element.

Books and technology working together

It is easy to get caught up trying to take technology out of the equation but with our techno-kids, adding technology every now and again can be a game changer. After all, our goal is to get them reading!

One option is to use a tablet or an e-reader to read digital books. Your child can easily keep track of their place, highlight passages, and even look up words they don’t know. Plus, most devices come with built-in features that make reading more fun, such as games, quizzes, and challenges.

Another great way to incorporate technology into reading time is by listening to audiobooks together. This can be done in the car on the way to the shops or during family road trips. Not only does it provide an opportunity for a shared experience between you, but also lets them sit back, relax, listen, and simply imagine.

A final tip

If you want your child to really enjoy reading this summer, then make sure to encourage them to take regular reading breaks. Take a break after every chapter. This gives your child time to process what they just read and allows them to take a breather before diving back in.

You may even have to put the book down for a day or two if they're starting to lose interest. This way, they won't feel like they have to force themselves to keep reading and can come back to it with fresh eyes. 

And finally, encourage them with other activities that complement their reading, like listening to an audiobook of the same story or watching a movie adaptation. Sometimes just switching things up and making a change might be all they need to reignite their love for the story. Here’s to a summer filled with the wonder of books!

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