Digital Reading | May 29, 2024

Maximize Learning: Parent Tips to Plan a Fun Summer Reading List for Kids


Find some of our tips for creating a reading list and program to help children make the most of their summer and get the benefits of reading.

Girl reading on phone

Summer in the US is a time for relaxation and fun, but it’s also a golden opportunity to keep young minds engaged and growing. A well-planned summer reading list can combine learning with enjoyment, helping children build academic skills while discovering the joy of reading. Here are some tips for parents and caregivers on how to create an effective and fun summer reading list for your child.

1. Learn Your Child’s Interests and Reading Levels

Before diving into what books to read, it’s important to find out what your young reader can read and will enjoy. Whether your child loves fantasy, science, history, or animals, our BookSmart app has thousands of books for them to discover. 

All our books are labeled by reading level to help you find what works for your young reader. If you can, it’s also great to take a tour of your local library to explore new books and ideas. Engaging topics will keep kids interested in reading, while age and level-appropriate books will make sure they are challenged without becoming discouraged.

2. Set Clear Reading Goals for Your Child

Setting goals can provide a plan and a sense of accomplishment. Goals can include the number of books to read this summer, genres to explore, or specific skills to develop. Make these goals realistic and achievable to keep your child motivated throughout the summer. It’s easy to set goals for your family and young readers with BookSmart’s weekly reading goals feature. You can also use our 25 Book Reading Goal Tracker as one way to establish goals for your child.

3. Mix It up with Different Genres

Introduce your child to a variety of genres to broaden their horizons and improve different literacy skills. Mix fiction with non-fiction, include some poetry, and don’t forget graphic novels or illustrated books, which can be particularly engaging for reluctant readers. This can help boost creativity, inspire kids, and build their excitement about reading.

4. Include Summer Reading Activities to Keep Kids Excited About Books

Activities are a great way to make sure children get excited about reading and absorb what they learn. Including theme-based challenges, like “Under the Sea Adventures” or “Magical Mystery Tour,” can add an element of excitement and discovery to the reading experience. Turning their reading time into a family activity by starting a family book club can also keep children engaged, or you can play games like Book Bingo with our helpful template.

5. Encourage Daily Reading Habits for Your Child

Consistency is key to developing strong reading skills. Encourage your child to read daily, even if it’s just for 20 minutes. Create a cozy reading nook, set a regular reading time, or join them with your own book to foster a shared reading culture at home. You can learn more about reading recommendations and tips for parents from teachers here.

Family reading together

6. Discuss What They Read with Them

Engage your child in discussions about the books they’re reading. Ask questions about the plot, characters, and what they’ve learned. This encourages comprehension, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking while allowing you to share in their reading excitement and discoveries.

7. Inspire Creative Responses

Build your child up to respond creatively to what they read. They can draw scenes, write alternate endings, or create a book review. These activities deepen their engagement and understanding of the material.

8. Set up a Reading Reward System

Motivate your child with a reward system. Rewards can be simple, like stickers, a special outing to the park, or extra screen time. Celebrate their reading achievements to keep the excitement going. BookSmart offers a built-in point tracking system that can help you manage this and keep kids active.

Where to Start Reading This Summer

With all these ideas, it can be hard to know where to start. If you’re looking for ideas to get your child ready and reading this summer, we have some suggestions available for free on BookSmart! Check out these stories to spend time with your young reader: Family Fun with BookSmart: 10 Must-Read Books for Parent-Child Bonding

Planning an effective and fun summer reading list for your kids doesn’t have to be challenging. By considering their interests, setting clear goals, and utilizing available resources, you can create a balanced and engaging reading program that keeps their minds active all summer long. Happy reading!

Want to learn more about reading? Sign up for our newsletter!