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! So it’s important for kids (of all ages) to maintain those skills over the summer months. So why not create a summer reading program with incentives. This will allow the kiddos to earn 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.
Here’s how we did it:
1- Create a spreadsheet to document all of the books read. 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.
2- Points are awarded for each book read. Each picture books earns them 1 point, each chapter book is worth 10 points.
3- Prizes and Incentives are awarded each week. 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.
– 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
4- Monthly and Summer prizes were also rewarded. 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. 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.
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. (affiliate links)
Ages 1 – 3 years
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.
Ages 4-8 years
National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs (National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books) – This is perfect for kiddos who love dinos. Learn everything you need to know about all the different types of dinosaurs. And there are beautiful visuals for the kids to enjoy.
Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids – I love the lesson in this book. Learn why it’s so important to fill everyone’s bucket each day. Filling a bucket can be as easy as helping someone or giving a compliment. This is my kids favorite book.
Ages 8 and up
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!
If you are looking for other summer book ideas, here’s a complete list on Amazon.