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How to Encourage Summer Reading

Kids spend the whole school year practicing good reading habits, but once the school bell rings on that last day, how do you keep them interested in reading over the summer? Dallas Moms Blog contributors Lee Cordon and Amanda Hunter appeared on the CW’s Eye Opener to talk about all things summer reading! 

Here’s a few tips on everything from how to pick engaging books to how your kids can earn free prizes by reading every day!

The Importance of Reading 

Lee is passionate about reading and often shares about it on her own blog, She notes that many studies show that the number one indicator of a child’s success in school later on is whether or not they were read to as a child. So summer reading doesn’t necessarily have to just be about your child reading, but you reading to them, too! Especially for pre-readers, but even for fluent readers, read to your children everyday.

Even if it’s for only 15 minutes a day, that quiet time where they are sitting on your lap, or about to fall asleep in their beds, can become a tradition and such a sweet time for your family. That 15 minutes can make a big different in their vocabulary and thus their schooling down the road!

Lee’s Tip: Read above their reading level – you will be amazed at how much little ones can understand!

Choosing The Classics

CW Secret GardenUse the summer to enjoy the timeless stories and books – the ones that really enrich a child’s imagination with their beautiful illustrations and captivating stories. Children ages 3 – 8 love the Tales of Peter Rabbit and Winnie the Pooh stories. They are short – one story per night is doable. All girls love The Secret Garden. And Little House on the Prairie is a book all family members enjoy. Let’s not forget Mother Goose stories for babies and toddlers – experts say those rhyming patterns are really good for a child’s brain!

If you are going to start teaching your children how to read this summer don’t just grab any “reader” at the library. The Fancy Nancy reader might look cute, but sometimes those mass-marketed “teach your child to read” books can bCW Bob Booksackfire because there is no rhyme or rhythm to the way they are teaching your child to read. If your child is just learning how to read, choose the books that are based on phonetic sounds (meaning easy to sound out!). 90% of the English language can be sounded out phonetically so books like this make learning to read more enjoyable and less frustrating. The “Bob Books” series and “Primary Phonics” series are found at most libraries – just ask!

Find more of Lee’s classic children’s book recommendations on

Save Time At The Library – Order Books Ahead

It can be stressful to take little ones into a quiet library and try to find the books that are right for your family. If you know you want certain books, go online and reserve your books ahead of time. This service is available at most metropolitan libraries – all you need is a library card to set up an account. That way your books are ready for you when you arrive. (But if your baby starts screaming, you can scoot on out of there and not feel like the time was wasted!). 

Reading Incentives

There are some really fun incentive programs that are free to participate in and kids can earn some fun prizes.

  • BN Summer ReadingBarnes and Noble Summer Reading Triathlon
    • Each summer Barnes & Noble gives young readers the opportunity to earn a free book by reading three books and completing a journal about the books they’ve read. Download the Summer Reading Triathlon Journal available at Barnes and Return your completed form to a Barnes and Noble store, earn a free book!
  • Half Priced Books Feed Your Brain Summer Reading program
    • This June and July, Half Priced Books CW Half Priced Booksencourages kids to read 15 minutes a day. Grown-ups may read aloud to kids who are still learning. Simply download and print the reading log, add up your minutes and have a parent or guardian initial each week. Bring the completed log to your local HPB to claim your Bookworm Bucks.
  • Chuck E Cheese’s
    • Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 9.30.10 PMKids can earn free tokens at Chuck E. Cheese’s by completing a reading chart this summer. Download and print the reading rewards calendar from Earn free tokens for reading each day for two weeks. The completed chart can be redeemed for 10 free tokens  (a food purchase is required).
  • Scholastic Summer Reading challeng
    • A Free online program running from May until September designed to excited and motivate kids to read through the summer. Kids can log the minutes they spend reading, play games, earn virtual rewards, and enter sweepstakes to win some fun prizes.


**None of the above books or programs were sponsored! We wanted to provide resources that would be genuinely valuable! 

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