One of the best ways to keep your kid’s brain from rotting over summer vacation is to set up a summer reading program of some sort. The great thing about summer is that no one is telling your child what to read. The choice is all theirs. At least, it should be. As long as they are reading something, it counts!

Create your own summer reading program for kids with these five easy steps, plus print out free reward coupons!

There are tons of summer reading programs out there for kids. My favorite is the Scholastic Summer Challenge. Not only can kids log their minutes and earn points towards digital prizes for themselves, but the whole community of readers is working together to break reading world records!

Looking for more summer reading programs already in play? Check out Penny Pinchin’ Mom’s post on Free Summer Reading Programs in 2013. She already did a great job of breaking them down. I’m taking a different angle this year. In addition to signing up for a few of the existing summer reading programs, I plan to create my own for my son. How? So glad you asked!

Tips for Creating Your Own Summer Reading Program for Kids

  • Come up with a fun name. Your summer reading program needs a name, right? Well, maybe it doesn’t need one, but it does add an element of fun to it. Ask your child for suggestions. I may go with “The Great Summer Readathon Challenge” or something like that. I’m horrible at coming up with names, so I’m totally open to yours!
  • Set the ground rules. Discuss with your child what the ground rules will be. What counts towards the goal? Do comic books count? Does it count if you read the book to your child? Take your child’s age into consideration when making the rules. Don’t expect a 6-year-old to read War and Peace, for example! Personally, I feel if it has words, it counts as reading.
  • Decide how to log your child’s reading. This will have a lot to do with what you consider as qualified reading. If you’re counting any reading, such as magazines, newspapers, and even online articles, log by the minute. If you’re going with just books, log by the book. Whichever you choose, you can find some great printable logs  at k12 Reader.
  • Devise a reward system. Decide how you will reward your child. One idea is to put a marble in a jar for every book (or set amount of minutes) read. When the jar is filled (make it a reasonably sized jar, like a small pickle jar), your child earns a special reward. You can also give out book coupons when a goal is met, such as these (I made them myself. They’re nothing fancy, but feel free to use them if you like them):

Summer Reading Program Book Reward


Summer Reading Program Book Coupon

  •  Get reading! Once you’ve devised your plan, it’s time to get reading! Give your child plenty of book choices and schedule regular trips to the library. With your summer reading program, your child won’t be as likely to suffer the dreaded summer brain rot!

Do you have any great tips for a summer reading program for your kids? I’d love to hear them!