According to their website, “NWEA is a research-based, not-for-profit organization that supports students and educators worldwide by creating assessment solutions that precisely measure growth and proficiency—and provide insights to help tailor instruction.” In their research, NWEA estimates that the average student loses 17–34% of the prior year’s learning over summer break.

Of course, teachers are aware of this and refresh students on their coursework when they go back to school in the fall. But, as a parent, it is still important for you to help your child fight learning loss when they are off. Summer reading is a great way to do that!

While children are looking forward to a break from school and learning during the summer, encouraging them to continue reading both fun and educational books is a great way for them to build good habits and keep their minds sharp. In this guide, we’ll provide you with some tips to get your child to read over the summer, including a printable summer reading chart that your child can use to track their progress.

How to get your child to read over the summer

How to make summer reading fun

The best way to get your child to read over the summer is to make summer reading fun. If your child actually wants to read, then they will read! If your child is already a bookworm, then likely, you won’t need an incentive program to get them reading this summer. However, if your child wouldn’t touch a book that isn’t assigned with a 10 foot pole, then this section is for you. Here are some of our best tips from educators and experts on how to make summer reading fun for your child.

  1. Make it a part of the daily routine. Children thrive on predictability. If you add reading into your day-to-day summer routine, then they will come to look forward to the relaxing time that they spend reading. If they attend summer camp, they will likely be tired when they come home, so that would be a great time to suggest 30 minutes of reading. Before bedtime is also a great time for reading.
  2. Get the whole family involved. Summer reading will feel more fun if it’s a bonding experience. Model the behavior and join your child for reading time in the park, backyard, by the beach, or on the couch.
  3. Encourage discussion. If you have an older child, read what they are reading and then talk about it! This will make them more excited to read and process their books, so that they can discuss with you. Looking for inspiration? Here are some of our favorite books for teens to read. If your child is younger, read with them. Switch off reading pages aloud so they can practice without feeling like they are in school.
  4. Make it as easy as possible for them. In another article, our early childhood learning specialist discusses one of the best ways to get your child to turn off their screen is by giving them a lot of options when screen time is over. Likewise, if you want your child to enjoy summer reading, you should make it as easy as possible for them to read. They should always have a book that they are currently reading and one on deck for when they finish. That way if they find themselves with time, they can pick up the next one.
  5. Turn books into a treat. Does your child have a library card? If not, this summer is a great opportunity to get one! Then, take them to the library once a week so that they can explore and find new books to read. Pair it with something else they love, like a trip to Starbucks or the park so that they associate getting books with other positives.
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Reading incentive programs

Sometimes, it takes cold hard incentives to get your child to do something that is good for them. If the above suggestions are not proving effective enough, try to combine them with one of these reading incentive programs to get your child to read this summer.

  1. Barnes & Noble. The B&N summer reading incentive program is for children in first through sixth grade. Children need to read 8 books over the summer and write about their favorite book in the printable B&N summer reading journal. Then, they need to bring their journal to a Barnes & Noble and they can choose a free book to take home!
  2. Scholastic. Children who want to join the Scholastic reading incentive program need to start by creating an account on the safe and moderated Home Base community. Then, they can track the books that they read and as they continue to read, their reading streak will unlock activities and events. Likewise, the longer they keep up their streak, the more books they help donate to children in rural America.
  3. Chuck E Cheese. The Chuck E Cheese reading rewards calendar is filled out by a parent. If their child reads every day for 2 weeks, then they can bring it with them to a Chuck E Cheese and win 10 free play points.
  4. Showcase Cinemas. This program is available at select Showcase Cinema locations in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Rhode Island. Children can bring a book report to these movie theaters and receive free entrance to a children’s movie of their choice on Bookworm Wednesdays.
  5. Local library programs. Most local libraries have reading incentive programs that children can participate in all summer long. Look online or stop in the local library and ask your librarian. 
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Summer reading chart

If you are looking for a handy summer reading chart to help your child track their progress this summer, we’ve got just the one for you! Download our free summer reading chart and watch it fill up! Plus, if you and your child are looking for some inspiration on what to read, we spoke with five librarians at the Brooklyn Public Library to hear some of their favorite summer reading books for kids.

Download button for summer reading chart
Photo of summer reading chart

Ultimately, it’s up to you and your child to figure out how much they will read while school is out. Over summer break, experts recommend limiting screen time and focusing on enriching activities like reading, arts & crafts (check out our beach crafts for kids guide for inspiration!), imaginative play, and more. If you are looking for online and in-person camps, check out what the hundreds of wonderful educators on Sawyer are offering.