20+ Engaging Summer Reading Ideas


Summer will be here before we know it!   Summer reading activities are important for keeping newly acquired skills fresh and getting a jump start on the new school year.

Here are some awesome summer reading ideas and activities that will keep the kids engaged this summer.  Best of all, they are all fun! Pick one that looks like a good fit or you can combine a few of them to create a learning-packed season.

summer reading ideas

The ideas are great for summer classes or to recommend to families.

All of the resources are free unless noted.

Summer Reading Ideas

Let’s start with reading projects, camps, and series to keep the kids busy learning and growing.

1. BOOK BASED SUMMER READING ACTIVITY CALENDARS

sample calendar of book based activity calendar

Recommended Ages: Toddler, Preschool/Pre-K, and Kindergarten Versions

Enjoy minimal prep and low-stress activities with your little ones this summer.  Each week there is a new summer theme to enjoy.  Three to five books are featured on the topic and five different activities to do together.  Everything is provided in a monthly calendar format.  The printable resources included are just $2. Click here for all the details: BOOK BASED SUMMER READING ACTIVITY CALENDARS

2.  Book Dives

book dives

Recommended Ages: 3-5

Book Dives are a fun way to go deep inside a book.  Activities include before, during, and after discussion questions to build vocabulary and build comprehension, hands-on literacy experiences, art/sensory activity, and more.  Some fun summer titles include Hey, Water!, Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao, and Rainbow Stew.  Each Book Dive is only $5. Click here to see the Book Dives.

3.  LIBRARY ADVENTURE CHALLENGES

summer reading ideas

Recommended Ages: All

This one is low-stress and EASY!  Nine super fun challenges for finding new books at the library.  You can do the challenges in any order and as often as you want over the summer.  Just click here to see the Summer Library Adventure Challenges!

4. THE GREAT LIBRARY SUMMER CHALLENGE

Recommended Ages: 3 and up

If you want to kick it up a notch and complete even more library challenges, you will want to check out a joint project created by What Do We Do All Day? and No Twiddle Twaddle.  You will find fiction, non-fiction, and resource challenges.  I love that they have two levels of challenges for each idea.  You will find one that is easier and one that is advanced.  Start your Great Library Summer Challenge on a week of your choosing.

5.  ABC SUMMER BUCKET LIST

Recommended Ages: 2-8

Let the alphabet inspire your summer days.  Each day there is an activity and book to enjoy together as a family.  A is for making art outside and read I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!  Check out all 26 ABC Summer Fun activities and books.

6.  FAMILY DINNER BOOK CLUB

Over 26 Family Dinner Book Club ideas together. Themed menus, table crafts for families, question prompts, and family service projects ideas included for FREE.

Recommended Ages: 4-8 and their family members

Hold a Family Dinner Book Club each month during the summer.  A new book is announced on Growing Book by Book on the 1st of each month.  You enjoy reading the book with your family.  Then try the themed menu, table decoration crafts, family service project, and conversation starters to kick off your dinner club!  If you don’t like the book being featured each month, you can always choose a past title from the archives.  There are over 60 book choices!

7. START WITH A BOOK: READ.EXPLORE.LEARN!

Recommended Ages: 3 and up

Reading Rockets has some great summer resources with 24 themes to choose from this year. Pick a themed book or books to read from the list.  Then, enjoy choosing great activities including writing activities, hands-on activities, website resources, and app recommendations.  The themes to choose from include: The Night Sky, Art and Artists, Our Government, Detectives and Explorers, and more!

8.  VIRTUAL BOOK CLUB FOR KIDS

Recommended Ages 2-8

Some very talented bloggers have designed fun activities based on books. You get resources full of ideas for different age ranges.  There are 3 weeks of activities you can work at your own pace. You can get the Summer Virtual Book Club for Kids for $24.99.

9.  JUMP IN! TO SUMMER LEARNING

Recommended Ages: 2-7

Royal Baloo and 3 Dinosaurs created theme printable activity packs to keep the learning moving all summer long.  The Jump In! to Summer Learning themes are Space, Ocean, Beach, Dinosaur, and Pioneer.  The materials are multi-leveled and work well for various ages.  There are literacy sheets and number work ready to download.  You can also access summer resources from previous years too.

10.  SUMMER SCIENCE SERIES

Recommended Ages: 4 and up

Summer Science Series is a joint project between KC Edventures and Inspiration Laboratories.  You will find hands-on science ideas that have literacy tie-ins including book lists.  Topics include Biology, Physics, Ecology, Geology, Astronomy, and Chemistry.

11.  READ IN 100 PLACES  or  READING CHALLENGE

Recommended Ages: all ages

Instead of reading a certain number of books or a certain number of minutes, try to see how many different PLACES you can read this summer.  The Measured Mom has a fun 100 Places Challenge.

Or take a fun reading challenge from Happy You Happy Family or Edventures With Kids mapping challenge with the books you read.

12. READING SCAVENGER HUNT

Recommended Ages: All

Encourage reading a variety of books in fun places with Modern Parents Messy Kids’ Reading Scavenger Hunt.  Just print the map and you are ready to start off on a reading adventure.

13-17 Book Logs and Lists

Would you like to track how much the kids read this summer?  Try one of these reading log sheets.

13.  Summer Reading Goals from The Curriculum Corner includes reading logs, goal sheets, pledges, and awards.
14.  Simple As That has a beautiful reading log that would work well for kids who can write.
15.  How Does She? has a gorgeous set of printables to track reading and some fun coupons you can use when kids reach reading milestones.
16. Read 100 books this summer and track your progress with this tracking chart from Teaching Mama.
Reading books for pleasure is one of the best parts of summer reading.  
READING LIST FOR KIDS FOR SUMMER
17. Find books on a topic that interests your child.  I have over 150 themed book lists for you to gather ideas!  Start with my 2021 Summer Reading Guide.

18-20 Book Reward Programs

If your child needs a little extrinsic motivation to read, check out one of these reading reward programs sponsored by businesses.
18. Barnes and Noble holds a summer reading program where kids track the number of books they read to earn a free book. Read 8 books and get one free. Also, check your local store for summer story time opportunities.
19. Chuck E. Cheese’s offers 10 free tokens to kids who read each day.  Just print the reading calendar.  When your child has marked off all the days, take it to the restaurant to redeem.
20. The Scholastic Online Reading Challenge begins in May.  Kids can track their reading minutes online and win digital rewards.  This year there will be live online author events.
Check out your local community businesses for more summer reading incentive programs.

21. Best Tip

Finally, I must end with my best summer reading tip.
21. Visit your local library during the summer and take advantage of the many free summer offerings being shared to help promote a love of reading!
Enjoy these summer reading ideas with children this year.

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