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Spark a Love for Reading: Summer Reading Incentive Ideas for Kids

As summer approaches, many parents and educators are eager to keep children's minds engaged and learning. One of the best ways to do this is by encouraging reading. But for some children, getting excited about reading can be a challenge. If your child is reluctant to pick up a book (especially if they're distracted by all the fun summer activities on the calendar), there are plenty of creative and fun ways to make reading an enjoyable and rewarding experience. If you need some ideas to get your child motivated to take an interest in books, keep reading for our various summer reading incentive ideas to inspire your elementary student to dive into the world of books.



"6 Summer Reading Incentive Ideas for Kids" on a picture of a little girl reading


Create a Reading Chart or Bingo Board


A reading chart or bingo board can turn reading into a game and provide a visual representation of your child’s progress. Here’s how you can create one:


  1. Design the Chart or Board: Use colorful markers, glitter, or stickers to make the chart or board visually appealing. Each square on the chart or board can represent a book, chapter, or reading goal. Get your child involved in creating it to get them more excited!

  2. Set Fun Challenges: Include a variety of challenges such as "Read a book about animals," "Read for 20 minutes," or "Read a book recommended by a friend."

  3. Track Progress: As your child completes each challenge, they can mark it off with a sticker or a checkmark.

  4. Offer Rewards: For each row or section completed, offer small rewards, which we'll cover ideas for next!


Offer Special Treats or Privileges

Rewards can be a powerful motivator for kids and great summer reading incentives. Here are some ideas for special treats or privileges that can help motivate your child:


  1. Bookstore Visits: Allow your child to choose a new book from a bookstore or online store after completing a set number of books. Giving them the ability to choose can help get them more interested in a book.

  2. Outing of Choice: Offer an outing to their favorite park, zoo, or museum as a reward for reaching reading milestones.

  3. Extra Playtime: Grant extra time for their favorite activities, such as playing video games, watching a movie, or having a playdate with friends.

  4. Personalized Rewards: Tailor rewards to your child's interests, such as a new set of art supplies, a special toy, or a fun family outing.


You can also start with small rewards, like extra playtime, for reaching small milestones and save bigger rewards, like a visit to the zoo or a toy they really want, for reaching their goals at the end of the summer to keep them motivated the whole summer.


Take Reading Outdoors


Changing the reading environment can make reading more exciting and enjoyable for children, especially when the weather is nice in the summer. Here are some outdoor reading ideas to consider:


  1. Parks and Beaches: Take books along on trips to the park or beach. Spread out a blanket and enjoy reading under the open sky or by the water.

  2. Backyard Picnics: Set up a cozy reading nook in your backyard with a picnic blanket, pillows, and a selection of favorite books.

  3. Nature Walks: Combine reading with nature exploration. Find a quiet spot during a nature walk to sit and read a book about wildlife or the great outdoors.

  4. Camping Trips: Bring along books for campfire stories or quiet reading time in the tent.

  5. By the Pool: Most pools will have times when kids need to be out of the water to give lifeguards a break, so you can have your child read during those breaks to help pass the time.


Create a Fun Reading Space


A special reading space can make reading feel like a unique and enjoyable activity. And adding some privacy can help keep them from being distracted and help them focused. Here are some ideas to create an inviting reading nook for your child:


  1. Comfortable Seating: Include bean bags, cushions, or a comfy chair to make the space cozy.

  2. Good Lighting: Ensure there’s plenty of natural light or add a reading lamp for a well-lit area.

  3. Book Display: Use a bookshelf or book cart to display a variety of books, making it easy for your child to choose their next read.

  4. Personal Touches: Decorate the space with your child’s favorite colors, posters, or artwork to make it their own.


Host a Summer Reading Challenge


A summer reading challenge is a fun summer reading incentive idea that can create a sense of community and friendly competition. Here’s how to organize one:


  1. Set Clear Goals: Define the goals of the challenge, such as reading a certain number of books, pages, or minutes per day.

  2. Invite Friends and Family: Encourage your child to invite friends, siblings, or cousins to join the challenge.

  3. Regular Check-Ins: Schedule regular check-ins to discuss progress, share book recommendations, and celebrate achievements.

  4. Celebrate Together: At the end of the summer, host a celebration with certificates, prizes, and a book-themed party to reward everyone who completed the challenge.


Add Some Creativity


Encourage your child to express their creativity through reading-related activities. Here are some ideas:


  1. Book Reviews: Have your child write or video record reviews of the books they read. They can even create little booklets with the reviews and share them with family and friends.

  2. Art Projects: Let your child create drawings, paintings, or crafts inspired by the books they read.

  3. Storytelling: Encourage your child to write their own stories or create alternate endings for the books they’ve read.

  4. Dramatic Play: Help your child act out scenes from their favorite books using costumes and props.


Get Additional Help with Reading


Summer is the perfect time to cultivate a love for reading in your child. By incorporating these summer reading incentive ideas and creative activities, you can make reading an enjoyable and rewarding part of their summer routine. Whether it’s through reading charts, outdoor adventures, or personalized rewards, these strategies can help spark your child's interest in books and set them on a path to becoming lifelong readers.


If your child needs some extra help with reading, our online reading tutors are here to help! Schedule a call and see how our literacy specialists can help your child become a stronger reader and love books this summer.



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