Five Ways to Motivate Kids to Keep Up with Summer Reading

Need to get your kids motivated for summer reading? Here are some ideas and incentives to help!We moms tend to start launch into June with good intentions of reaching lofty summer reading goals and practicing some school skills with our kids. Some children are motivated to read and devour books without even being asked. Others would rather pay the doctor a visit than sit and read for a few minutes.

We fall in the middle of that spectrum. My oldest loves to read; my son—not so much. Summer reading always starts off well–I stay on top of my kids’ stacks of books for a week or two, then the pool, the beach, and my afternoon snooze take over. Let’s face it, we all need a little help to stay motivated in this department. Here are five tips, along with some affiliate links, to help keep your kids’ reading skills on track.


Library Programs

Incentives, People! Bribery is a great tool when you have reluctant readers. Our library offers prizes each time a child finishes a certain number of books. Additionally, many public libraries offer other types of programs related to literacy to get families involved. I’m even signed up for the summer reading program, right along with my kids. Check out your local paper for more information—children really get into these programs and love to take part.

Get Into a SeriesHere are some tips to keep your kids motivated to complete their summer reading!

Finding and enjoying a good book series with your kids will make those weekly trips to the library even more enticing. Young readers and listeners will love Mo Willems Elephant and Piggie series or his Pigeon series. Upper elementary students get excited about the Three Times Lucky series by Sheila Turnage. I’ve read these with my students and just couldn’t put them down!

Celebrate Your Summer Reading

Kids love to chart reading milestones, so commemorate each book you read. My friend used to make paper chains with each link denoting a book her kids read. You could even put together a reading jar-for every book, chapter, or predetermined number of pages your child reads, add a pom-pom, marble, or other small trinket. Once the jar is full, plan a special treat or an outing to the bookstore.These summer reading ideas will motivate your kids to read each day.

Read to Donate

Last year, I challenged my kids to read for charity. They put a penny a page into a jar, which we then donated to a cause that had special meaning to us at the time. Children love the opportunity to make a difference, and allowing the chance to read and serve others simultaneously makes a big impact.


On a similar note, older readers can gain volunteer hours for school or organizations by helping others. Ask your local nursing homes or assisted living facilities if they have residents who would enjoy listening to your child read the newspaper or magazines to them. At the other end of the age spectrum, camps, day cares, and church groups may embrace young people to come read to the smaller children in their groups.


By incorporating a few of these simple ideas, you can keep your child’s summer reading on track. Who knows? Your kids may really get into a new author or series!

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