Create a Fun Summer Reading Program at Home to Encourage Reading

While the summer can be filled with new adventures and fun vacations, it’s well known that kids lose some of their knowledge and learning skills over the summer and that can include reading skills. Let’s create some incentive this summer for opening books through a home summer reading program!

Creating a summer reading program for kids at home - Kids Activities blog - child reading a book
Let’s spend the summer reading good books!

Encourage Summer Reading in Kids

So it’s important for kids of all ages to maintain those reading skills over the summer months. So why not create a summer reading program with incentives. This will allow the kiddos to earn reading rewards for doing what they were already doing over the school year.

We started a summer reading incentive program last year and it really helped keep my kids interested in school and reading. This summer we are going to add math to the equation! Math skills are really lost over the summer months. I am going to add bonus math points this summer.

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Grab your library card and head to the local library or check out a library location that is a little bigger than your local branch to pick up new books. We also love visiting the local bookstore or ordering books online. The goal is to encourage the love of reading and prevent summer slide. Ok, now that we are all on the same page (get it?) let’s try some new things and make this summer reading goal a special event!


I use a poster board with columns that list all the weeks of the summer. Every time my kids read a book, we wrote the title of the book on the poster board. I also used a gold star sticker to put next to the title. The kids love putting a sticker on the board to show their achievements and watching their reading streak. This also got the whole family involved because each member could see the leaderboard.


Each picture books earns them 1 point, each chapter book is worth 10 points.


On Sundays we total up all the points from the week. The child with the most points for the week, earned a prize or incentive. I created a treasure box that included note cards with rewards. If they both earn the same amount of points, they both choose a reward.

Reading Rewards

  • Stay up late
  • Saturday freebie (choose what we do as a family on Saturday)
  • Play date with friends
  • Trip to bookstore or library to get a new book
  • Choose Friday movie on Demand
  • Go for ice cream


To keep the kids interested throughout the summer, we also rewarded them if they had the most points each month and at the end of the summer.

End of Summer Reading Prizes

These prizes included toys and gift cards valued at $10. Then at the end of the summer, the child with the most points was given a $25 cash prize to do whatever they wanted.

**This year I am adding math to the summer incentive chart. I will give each of them a math problem to solve each day. They will get a bonus point for getting it right!

There are many ways to create your own summer reading or math incentive program. And there are others you can also sign your kids up for. Barnes & Noble, The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge and Pizza Hut’s Spark your Greatness Summer Reading Program offer great incentives.

Summer Reading Book Lists

So now you may be asking what should my kids be reading this summer. Here’s a list of the summer’s most popular books.

Books for Ages 1 – 3 years

Early learners this age can participate with reading aloud, a wordless book, board books and simple word books like early reader books.

  • First 100 Words Board book – This will help improve your kids vocabulary with 100 color photographs and first words!
  • My Big Animal Book (My Big Board Books) Board book -This is another great “first” book for kids. This will help them learn about animals, where they live and how to visualize the word.
Create a summer reading program at home with incentives - Kids activities blog - child reading a book
So many good books to read..such a short summer!

Books for Ages 4-8 years

This age group of young readers is really fun because kids can concentrate on pre-reading skills, early reading skills and reading skills based on what their interests might be. They can tackle a new challenge by reading a book! This age group may even like to check out a comic book or a non-traditional book not necessarily expected for their age groups.

Books for Ages 8 and up

Almost anything goes with this group of competent readers. Maybe a graphic novel? Maybe a suggestion from a library staff member? These readers may willingly spend hours of reading on a good book.

  • Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book – What I like about this book is it makes kids think while finding treasures and they can use their coloring skills to keep busy.
  • Charlotte’s Web – This is a classic and a rite of passage for summer.
  • Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids -What is summer without a few laughs. I bought this joke book for my kids over the holidays and we are still laughing at these jokes. They are simple and very funny for kids!

More Summer Reading Lists for Kids

If you are looking for other summer book ideas, here’s a complete list on Amazon.

My Summer Plan for Reading - Percy Jackson

More Fun Learning Activities to Encourage Reading from Kids Activities Blog

How did your summer reading program turn out? We would love to hear more!

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