Summer reading: A new recipe for fun (part 1)

Two boys, reading a book on lawn

Looking to cook up some new activities this summer vacation? Incorporating reading into your child’s summer routine not only keeps them learning, but it can be fun! Follow this two-part recipe for a perfect summer full of reading and fun.


1. Combine 3 cups of summer with 2 cups of reading.

2. Add 4 to 5 new authors and a few teaspoons of old favorites.

3. Set aside a batch of audio books for those rainy days and long car drives.

4. Stir slowly and blend in 10 minutes of reading aloud every night.

5. Sprinkle with homemade books from digital or traditional photos.

6. Savor the new ways that reading can be fun in the summer.

First, combine 3 cups of summer with 2 cups of reading

Reading new books exposes us to rare words and ideas unlikely found in our day-to-day conversations. That’s why it’s important to work our children’s reading muscle in the summer, by cooking up new ways to combine reading and fun. Try reading in the sun at the beach, or on a blanket in the grass under a big tree.

Add 4 to 5 new authors and a teaspoon of old favorites

Read and reread favorite books in the summer. Young children love the familiar rhyme and rhythm that these favorites provide.

At the same time, explore new authors and take advantage of the wonderful free public libraries and book stores. Read books to your child that are written slightly higher than their age level. For example, many four to seven-year-old children, who have not yet learned to read, enjoy listening to E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web and The Trumpet of the Swan, or Jean Craighead George’s Julie and the Wolves series. Reading new authors can spark different interests and allows a new avenue for learning.

And make sure your children see you read your favorite new and old authors. Childrens’ ideas and values about reading begin to form early as they observe the important people in their lives.

Set aside a batch of audio books and save for rainy days and long car rides

Audio books can be enjoyed by the whole family — at the same time.  Libraries and bookstores are full of great books on CD or downloadable mp3’s. Listening to books on those rainy summer days or during long car rides is live language that sticks to children in ways that television and videos do not. Audio books are fun because they come with sound effects and the voice of a trained actor that adds to the richness and mood of the story or documentary. Audio books stimulate conversation and allow children to create their own visual pictures to go along with the story.

Enjoying your summertime reading recipe? Make sure to check out part two of the recipe here!

Jean FaheyJean Ciborowski Fahey, PhD is a 2014 Mass Literacy Champion. She is the author of Make Time for Reading: A Story Guide for Parents of Babies and Young Children. Learn more about Jean here