NOW CLOSED: 10 Summer Reading Tips and Giveaway!

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by on June 1, 2009


Summer is here and school is out! Family vacations, bar-b-ques, and swim parties are just a few of the many activities that children participate in the summer. Yet, there is another summer activity, one that was of my favorites growing up, and is also one of the most important in a child’s education.

Summer Reading is one of the best activities that children can participate in to continue their learning and build the skills they have learned from the previous school year.

As a woman with a graduate degree in education and the mother of two young children, I know how important reading is at all times of the year, but especially in the summer when kids are away from a school setting. I believe that learning begins in the home and that by creating an environment enriched with reading, even at a young age, parents prepare their children for future educational success.

treasures logoDr. Tim Shanahan, author of Macmillan/McGraw-Hill’s best selling elementary reading program, Treasures, and the recent past president of the International Reading Association has put together 10 wonderful reading tips to encourage reading this summer. His tips include:

1.  Read Together! Summer usually allows families to spend more time together. This is a great opportunity to read more with your kids to help keep their skills fresh. Children learn a lot when you read to them. Even if your child can read by himself, take turns reading to each other, and be sure to talk about what you are reading. Ask questions, answer questions and explore the ideas together.

2. Share the Experience. As kids get older, help them find books, magazines, or newspaper articles that they would enjoy reading. Take the time to read them too so you can discuss them. The point is to share the reading experience.

3. Ask Questions. Even if you are not reading the same books they are, talk to your children about what they are reading. Ask them questions such as what happened in the story or what might happen next, who is their favorite character, or who is the villain. This builds summarization and recall skills, and your interest helps increase their interest.

4. Designate a Reading Spot. Create a summer reading nook or spot in your home where your child can read. Make sure there is good light and comfortable seating and try to set aside one TV/video-game-free night per week for family reading. Reading night can be a special snack night, too. There is nothing better than reading with a big bowl of popcorn!

5. Use Resources. If your children’s school program provides materials for home activities over the summer, absolutely use them.

6. Find Reading Opportunities Everywhere. If you are taking a trip this summer, send for brochures and maps and have your children read them aloud with you.

7. Leverage Pop Culture. Don’t ignore the value of graphic novels or a popular series like the Twilight books or Harry Potter. These are great ways to encourage adolescents to read more.

8. Plan an Outcome Activity. Whether you are reading to your children or they are reading themselves, plan an outcome event or activity based on the reading. For instance, if the book has been made into a movie, watch the DVD together after reading the book. Book reading can lead to picnics, museum visits, ballgames or even family vacations.

9. Write Letters to Your Children. Writing to your kids is a great opportunity to remind them of experiences that they had when they were younger or to tell them about the lives of older people in the family, like their grandparents. Kids love getting letters and you can even encourage them to write back, helping them practice their writing skills.

10. Mix it up. Don’t just focus on storybooks. Kids often prefer to read about fact rather than fiction, including books and articles about the environment, animals, current events, sports, and other topics. Talk to them about what they like and help them find reading materials that match those interests.

southwest To encourage reading this summer, I am excited to host this PERFECT Summertime giveaway from Macmillan/McGraw-Hill! One lucky reader will get a series of 3 age-specific readers from the Treasures program (winner chooses age level).

The books shown may or may not be part of the winning selection, which are determined on the age-level chosen.


1) Leave a comment with your own reading tip to encourage summer reading.

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Make sure you leave a comment for each entry! The giveaway starts today, June 1, 2009 and ends Monday, June 22, 2009 at 11:59pm.


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  • Good ideas, all! We’re a family of readers–one of favorited passtimes it to go to one of the major chain bookstores and browse while we sip a latte’. We don’t always buy, but we enjoy taking the time to look at anything and everything.

    My suggestion–let kids pick their own books from time to time–even if it’s over their head. It helps to stretch them beyond what you may thing they’re capable of.

  • each summer dd and I take part in the reading program at the public library. and we set a goal at the beginning and if we meet our goal, then we do something special.

    martha’s last blog post..June is here.

  • K. C.

    We go to the library, to enjoy the AC and some great books! WE also participate in as many summer reading programs as we can find.

  • We choose several books from the library and then we do art inspired by the books and write a letter to the author and anxiously await their reply!
    Thanks! foxsquirrelrabbit at gmail dot com

  • Elsie

    Here’s another one I found for you! I love these things:

    The economy has everyone down, but don’t let it affect your summer reading material. This Summer ‘09 BookSwim , the Netflix for books, is offering one month free for summer reading.

    BookSwim is America’s only online book rental service offering everything from hardcover new releases to paperback classics.

    “Swimmers” can enter the code “SUMMER09” at checkout for one month free as part of a three month Summer subscription to BookSwim.

  • Michelle C

    I encourage reading by making a trip to the library a special treat! Thanks for the chance to win. mrsmchappell at gmail dot com

  • Sandy M

    Designate a special spot outdoors where the kids can read. Make sure it’s covered and shady and comfortable so it works for rainy days or days where it’s too hot to be running around. You’ll have to check it to make sure all the books make their way back indoors. A wicker chair on the porch or a beanbag in the playhouse are two possibilities.

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    I’m also an email subscriber. thanks

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  • Heather

    I signed my daughter up for the library’s summer reading program and I try to read to her 20 minutes a day.

  • Heather

    I subscribe with google reader!

  • richie

    My tip is to learn how to pick books that will provide optimal vocabulary growth. Details? This is a great article on this subject.

  • Reading outside is a good way to encourage kids to read while enjoying the wonderful weather.

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  • We take lots of trips to the library to encourage reading.

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  • We’re joining summer reading clubs–lots to choose from, think we’ll pick 2.

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  • tina reynolds

    take the time to read with them go to the park and find a great shade tree tina

  • Thanks for the giveaway! We’ve been going to the library a lot. My daughter is only 22 months now, but she loves books! We try to read before nap and bedtime too.

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  • kari

    We have a family reading time in the afternoon when everybody reads (or is read to).

  • Kris

    My daughter is only 6 months old, but my best tip is to start early. We’ve been reading to her since she was in the womb, and we read with her now. She loves the colors and new textures of the books, and she gets excited when we use different voices or sing the words. I am getting my Masters in Library Science and research shows that the earlier they start, the better.

  • We just read! We read alone, I read to the kids out loud, they read to their little brother. We also participate in the library summer reading program.

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  • Emily C

    Reading out loud, and letting the kids catch you reading yourself!

  • My kids and I all read together in a really big oversized chair in my daughter’s room. It’s cozy (especially as they grow up more and more!) but makes for memories I’ll keep forever.

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  • Tonya

    We read every day at the exact same time, same place. We buy books at garage sales and have many to choose from!

  • Take the kids to the library. When they have NEW books to read, they’ll want to read all day!

  • Jiya

    We make a big production of our trips to the library, so the trips are always fun and the kids are excited to go.

  • Julie

    We plan a big trip to the library every two or three weeks. I choose most of the books while my pre-schooler plays with the toys, but he usually picks one or two.
    At home, the books are displayed where he can easily see and reach them. Sometimes he just likes to arrange and rearrange them, but often he asks to have one read to him.
    julieadp at gmail

  • cherice

    We go the library once a week and there is no TV before 20 minutes or more of reading is done! Thanks for the chance.

  • Shanna

    Combine reading and art…my daughter loves to draw, so she illustrates what she has read. It reinforces the story in her own mind.

  • Every summer I create a list of educational activities for my kids and the other kids in the family. Many of the activities include reading a book on a certain topic and creating something based on what they read. They ean points for each activity and then can redeem them for prizes throughout the summer. At the end of the summer, we have a big party for all the participants.

    ldsmom2201 at yahoo dot com

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  • Richie

    My dad used to give us the option: four hours of summer school or one and one-half hours of supervised dad instruction. He included field trip adventures as you describe. Another nice article with complementary tips is found at

  • Some of the things we do to promote reading is to let our child check out books from the library that interests him even if they are not what interests us like, learning about “stealth bombers” “army tanks” the topics as long as age appropriate are not as important as learning about new things, being excited in a topic and of course wanting to read the book.

    I also try and provide story stretchers around the topics that we are reading about if it is airplanes we visit the air and space museum, sharks the aquarium, it helps to continue the topic and learning.

    I also like to have my kids keep a journal or write about their pets, home, likes, it gives them the feeling of being an author and illustrator of their own adventures.

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  • Jenn

    My favorite tip to encourage summer reading is simply to make it fun. We each gather a book and get together in the living room and nestle up with blankets & pillows and take 3o min. each day to read together. Sometimes we talk about what we are reading other times we are quiet and enjoy being together!

  • Every summer we join one of the reading programs from the local library. They have rewards when children read a particular amount of books. This year we are joining the reading program at our local library and the reading rewards program at Half-Price Books. My son loves to read and he loves the rewards, even if they are small, like bookmarks.

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  • alicia

    The local libraries have the best reading programs. That was definitely my childhood pastime, going to the local library every week in the summer.

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  • Michele

    I always sign my boys up for the local libraries’ summer reading programs. They give incentives for reading a certain number of books by a goal date that you set yourself.

  • We read a book before we go outside to play

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  • Sarah

    We go to the library a lot! I also have my older kids read for a little while when my younger child is napping!

  • My son LOVES to have books read to him. My daughter, who is two years younger, doesn’t like it so much. So, to encourage her to sit down and look at books with us, my husband and I make sure we pick out books about things she really likes. Right now I have an ABC book that has pictures of bugs on every page. She loves to look at the bugs in the pictures, and we can read to her as she looks through the pages.

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  • We take advantage of the local library’s summer reading program. They offer such fun activities and great incentives for reading books.

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  • Lauren

    Our local library has a summer reading program. Both my boys are too young to read themselves, but I’ve been reading to them. They look forward to our reading time because they know that once we’ve registered 10 books read, they get to go back to the library and pick a prize. We just returned from turning in our second set of 10 books and now have 2 viking hats added to our toy collection!

  • I give the kids a set of activities to complete over the summer. Most of the activities are based on books they will choose to read (create a timeline based on the life of a persn you read a biography about; create a movie-type poster abouta bookyou enjoy, etc). The kids earn prze for each thing they complete and at theend ofth sumer we have a big party for everyone who participates (I give the lists tomyniece and nephews and few friends as well).

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  • Sue

    A large blanket in the backyard or at the park and books for us to read!


  • We join the library’s summer reading program. They have great prizes for the number of pages you read. They even have adult prizes!

    MamaHen’s last blog post..My Birthday Girl

  • alisha reynolds

    The best tip i have i am a reading teacher, is to look at a book. It may look like the book is really easy, but it may be to hard for that child. You also need to take into account that you do not need to just rely on numbered books. You child may be able to read this, but you need to have them enjoy ready at home and for that you choose a book that is a lower reading level so they will not get frustrated.

  • I lead a summer book club with my older-elementary age kids and their friends. We meet weekly at the city pool for book chat followed by swimming. (The opportunity to swim gets the kids motivated to keep up on their reading and participate in the talks.) Currently, we’re reading “Falling” by Doug Wilhelm.

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  • Stacy

    Don’t be afraid to let your little ones pick the books at the library or store, even if they have too many words per page. If needed make up a story to go with the pictures:)

  • mary

    I’m a subscriber.

  • mary

    My grandson loves for me to read to him at night. Promise him a book and he can hardly wait till bedtime.

  • We read all the time and we go to storytime twice a week, once at Pottery Barn Kids and again at the library.

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  • we read in the bathroom alot !

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  • Kimberly

    I take my kids to the library and let them check out books they are interested in. Usually by the tinme they get home, they are anxious to start reading right away.

  • Kimberly

    I subscribe by email.

  • Renee

    We go to Barnes and Noble for story time, a craft, and a snack every Wednesday at 11am.

  • Renee

    Im an email subscriber

  • We like to read outside while we are lounging in the pool. Or well, I read to them, and they listen! Thanks for the chance!

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  • Read as a family for 30 minutes every night.

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  • Jiya

    We have stories with supper — my son picks out a book for me to read to both kids at dinner time.

  • Marianna

    Turn OFF the TV! Go to the library instead! And let the kids see YOU reading, too!

  • April

    I read 3-4 books every night at bedtime. Sometimes we read the same ones because they are his favorites, I am glad he has favorites already and he is only 4.

  • Sascha

    We maintain the same goals we had over the school year. My oldest was suppose to read 450 minutes a month and the youngest 400 minutes. If they reach that goal for the month they get to purchase a new book of their choice. We also are taking advantage of the Library’s reading program as well as Borders reading program.

  • Sascha

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  • I give the girls quiet time in the afternoon where they can read or just rest and have some downtime.

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  • I love the library! That way, there we always have a variety of books.

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  • Nicci

    Take the kids to the library and let them pick out books they think look interesting. They are more likely to read if they got to choose, and bonus the library is FREE.

  • joy

    We love to act out the stories we read. My two toddler sons really get into the characters and could spend all day reading when we do it this way!

  • Emily

    We let my daughter write her own summer reading list. Trade her older books in at our local Budget bookstore and let her work on her specail list. She keeps them in a special bag by her bed where she always has access.

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  • Cathy

    My almost 4yr old loves it when I chenge voices for the characters in the books.

  • Ruth Ann

    My library has a summer reading program that offers little prizes for reading books and a big, fun event (I think it’s a magic show) for all kids who read a certain number of boosk.

  • We read every night before bed. of course my daughter wants me to read book after book after book. lol.

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  • Sandee Hostetter

    We participate in the library’s summer reading program. Also our routine includes 30 minutes of story time before naps and before bed. That makes for an hour of reading each day, not to mention an hour of Mommy time.

  • I love the local libraries Summer Reading program for encouragement to read. We have a deal that we do something fun in the morning and then come in for lunch and reading during the hottest part of the day. We also read a book together as a family before bed every night which is the perfect way to unwind after a busy day!

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  • I set a specific time of the day for reading/quiet time.

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  • Traci

    Make sure the kiddos see you reading as well. Monkey see, monkey do.

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  • Presley

    my little girl doesent enjoy reading at all but she loves to cook so each night she reads the cook book to see what to she wants to cook and reads the cook book recipe to me and helps cook dinner it may not be the best reading but it is a start my point is find something they realy like and sneek in the reading

  • Melissa

    We use the local library and do a reading list with them for their program. I subscribe and Im a fan on Facebook

  • Kelly S

    My daughter is only 4 but we read almost daily. I can’t wait until next year when she is reading on her own so we can do the library reading program (get prizes for reading books) and the Barnes and Noble reading program (get free book for reading over the summer).

  • Kelly S

    I just became a fan of yours on Facebook: Kelly Smith

  • Reading to my kids–at any age–encourages a love of reading. My kids are 18, 15, and 10 and have loved read-alouds. My oldest doesn’t participate as much, but my younger two loved The Hobbit and Trilogy of the Rings read by dad and I. :)

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