Using A Summer Reading Challenge

June 1, 2019
Written by:
Courtney Newman

Are you searching for a way to keep summer fun but productive?  We’ve all heard the statistics of learning loss over the summer months, and reading is one of the best ways to keep your kids having a blast while also engaging their minds during summertime!  Thankfully, there are a number of reading programs, challenges, and incentives available online to help motivate kids to read over their summer break.  Most local libraries even offer weekly activities for kids to encourage reading and summer fun!

Reading Makes a Difference

If you are skeptical about whether reading makes an actual difference during the relaxed summer months, let me put your mind at ease.  Even though your kids may not be studying math or science, reading counts as a great option for summer learning. For example, from studies, experts seem to agree that reading around six age-appropriate books during the summer often helps avoid learning loss!  Clearly, focusing on reading comprehension can make a big difference. Reading is magical and that’s just one more reason to love it.

Summer Reading Challenge Printable Kit!

To kick off summer break, we are introducing our very own summer reading challenge!  We recognize that not every child loves to read, so this is going to be a great option for helping motivate them to sit down and lose themselves in a good book.  Reading is meant to be fun, exciting, and enjoyable, and we want to keep it that way.  We’ve combined our reading challenge with a printable kit, and a giveaway at the end of summer!  Each family that participates in the reading challenge and completes the Bingo Chart or the Reading Record can enter our giveaway to receive a free book (tba).

To enter the contest:

  1. Download and print the reading challenge.
  2. Like us on Instagram and Facebook.
  3. Comment on IG or FB that you participated and then upload a picture of your completed reading record!
  4. We’ll contact you for your information. (Book may be digital or print – TBD)

How to Complete the Reading Challenge

So, how does our summer reading challenge work?  Feel free to use any reading medium or format you prefer, whether physical books, pdfs, or even reading apps!  The point here is to just sit down, kick your feet back, and READ this summer. Local summer book clubs are also a great option for keeping kids inspired.  If you can’t find an existing club, perhaps consider starting one with your homeschool support group or co-op. You could even look into reading books for free online!

We don’t want this to feel like summer school, but rather, a summer adventure!  We’ve said we want this challenge to be fun, so here’s what your printable kit includes:

  • A Bingo Chart.  Who doesn’t like Bingo?  This chart will help encourage your kids to read books of all different genres for variety and to keep their minds engaged!
  • A Reading Log.  This log will help kids keep track of the books they’ve read.  It’s a great way to record their progress. Personally, I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I write down each book I’ve read!
  • Award Tickets.  These are for rewarding kids each month to help reach their goals.  The tickets are great for checking off smaller goals and maintaining motivation throughout the summer months.  Sometimes it can be difficult to keep their initial excitement going!
  • Bookmarks!  We all love a good bookmark, and what reading challenge would be complete without a few?
  • Book Review Page.  Not all kids need to complete these, but if you want to challenge your advanced students more, perhaps have them write book reviews after reading each book!
  • Award Certificate!  Finally, the certificate for completing the challenge!

5 Summer Reading Lists to Get You Started

Are you ready to start on your summer reading challenge?  Perhaps you have your printables in hand, and your goals outlined, but there’s something missing.  Which books should you actually read? With literally thousands of titles out there, it can be overwhelming to narrow down your choices.  Further, it can take even longer to determine which titles are truly good books when you need to skim summaries, reviews, and ratings.

We want to make it easier, so we did the research for you.  Here are five excellent reading lists to give you a nudge in the right direction!  As an extra benefit, several of these are considered great reading materials specifically for homeschooling students!

  • A Dozen Books that Make Us Human. These books ask the deep questions.  They are all about character building and examining human nature at its best and worst.  When we read these types of books, they help give us a different perspective than our usual approach for certain relatable situations.
  • 50 Books Every Kid Should Read Before They’re 12. This is a big list, and we love it!  We find ourselves quickly going through elementary books, so I love that this list provides plenty of options and inspiration!  From classics such as Charlotte’s Web and The Velveteen Rabbit to well-known favorites like Anne of Green Gables and Where the Wild Things Are, this list will bring you back to your childhood with stories all kids should read.
  • College-Bound Reading List.  Colleges often request reading lists from applicants, especially where homeschooled students are concerned.  Why not impress them? This list has a number of great titles categorized by World Literature, American Literature, Kinesthetic Readers, Reluctant Readers, and Prolific Readers.  There’s bound to be a few here for your teen!
  • Books for Fun in the Sun For All Ages. Summer means enjoying the sunshine, so let’s choose a fun, beachy read.  Choose from 36 books to celebrate summer! Each of these books is either set in summer or about the season and a few even have fun activities to try.  These are the books we tend to set aside in favor of more serious literature reading during the school year.
  • Middle School Book List. Middle school can be a hard age for finding the right level for reading comprehension.  Elementary books are often too easy, while common high school titles are too advanced. This list specifically offers books commonly read by seventh graders.

Our 5 Favorite Reading Freebies

We couldn’t walk away from a summer reading challenge without giving you a few freebies!  Here you’ll find a giveaway, reading inspiration, a fun rewards program, and more! Our hope is for these freebies to not only excite you for this summer reading challenge but to also add depth and well-roundedness to your reading.  After all, in the end, it’s all about learning. And that’s one of the joys of homeschooling — even during summer, we’re always learning!

  • Britfield and the Lost Crown Giveaway. This novel is a newly launched adventure book for kids!  It’s all about loyalty, courage, and family. Enter the giveaway now for a chance to win a signed copy!
  • Goodreads Summer Reading Inspiration. If you’re a bookworm and you’re not on Goodreads yet, you’re in for a treat!  Goodreads is basically a social network for readers! It’s not only easy to search and add books to “Want To Read” lists, but they also have plenty of groups for the community.  Finally, they have a great summer reading list to give you some inspiration as you get started on our challenge!
  • Books-A-Million. This website is giving away a free drawstring backpack for kids who read four of their books!
  • Sanity Saver Homeschool Planner. The homeschool year itself may be over, but homeschool moms know summer still takes a bit of planning.  I don’t know about you, but if I don’t write everything down, I’m bound to miss something! This planner is free to download, and it even has a meal plan page and a chore chart!
  • Free Reading Skills Assessment. Sometimes, it’s helpful to step back and see just where our kids need a little more help or in which areas they are excelling.  This free reading skills assessment is for just that! This could be helpful for starting our summer reading challenge to strengthen certain skills before the fall semester.

Courtney Newman

Courtney Newman is a homeschooled graduate with a love for writing. She is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Health Science at University of the People. Other than writing, her hobbies include reading, yoga, visiting the beach, and meditating. She lives with her husband and pets in coastal Virginia.