Summer Reading for Moms and Kids

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Make summer reading a priority this year for you as well as for your kids. Here are some ideas on how to make it happen and where to find great books.

Summer Reading (1)

My childhood summers were dominated by books. I read 2000 miles cross country and back when my dad hauled us to Minnesota each summer. I read through stacks of library books of the respite of the house’s swamp cooler. I read piles of junk novels “lying out” in the sun, my limbs slicked with baby oil.

Books have been steadfast summer company for me for almost 40 years. With its more flexible schedule, summer offers you and me and our kids an opportunity to get reacquainted with books.

Summer Reading for Moms

This summer I’ve challenged myself to read at least one hour a day, sometimes more. After months of getting lax about reading as well as about exercising, I’m putting them together for summer reading. I can read while walking on the treadmill at the gym or riding the recumbent bike in our garage. (Hint: an iPad with the kindle app works really for this.)

Most afternoons I’ve been able to dig into a paper book while at the local pool with the kids. (Yes, once your littlest kid can swim, you, too, will be able to read at the pool!)

Summer Reading for Moms and Kids | Life as Mom

As I mentioned before, I’m working my way through Agatha Christie’s Poirot series, but I’m also picking other books that I’ve heard good things about, novels from Anne’s reading guides or books that others have recommended over the last year, like the Brene Brown that everyone raves about.

My system is working. So far I’ve read THREE books since June 1st! Working summer reading into your day doesn’t have to be difficult, even if you’re a busy mom.

Check out these posts if you’re not convinced.

–> Finding Time to Read

–> To Be More Joyful: Read a Good Book

–> 10 Books that are Necessary to Life

Get the Summer Survival Guide

Summer-Survival-Guide-cover The Summer Survival Guide, in addition to providing all the home maintenance/kid entertainment that you need for the summer, also includes an extensive reading section, including

:: What’s In It for Mom?
:: Looking for a Good Read?
:: Brushing up on Reading Skills
:: Make Friends with the Library
:: Summer Reading Plan (printable log)
:: Books I’ve Read This Summer (printable log)
:: Bookmarks (printable)

Get the Summer Survival Guide.

Summer Reading for Kids

Since books were my faithful companions as a child, I’ve worked hard to encourage my kids to read, especially for fun during the summer. One boy probably wouldn’t choose it first for a free time activity and one girl hasn’t completely embraced reading independently yet, but the others could easily get lost in books.

This year’s summer reading efforts for the kids include 1 hour minimum of reading per day as well as weekly trips to the library. We’re also looking over this list of Summer Reading Programs to see what’s a good fit for our family.

Summer Reading

FishBoy14 has seemingly read every book on under the sun, so he and I are looking for more wholesome book options for his summer reading. We’ve had some shocking surprises with random books from the library lately. Apparently, we’re not the only family whose kids really don’t want to read all about sex, drugs, and vampires.

In an effort to expand his horizons, I handed him my copy of Jamie Martin’s Give Your Child the World. While it’s designed for parents, FishBoy can totally handle the concepts Jamie sets forth about encouraging kids to explore the world and the world’s cultures through books. The age range of book recommendations ends at age 12, but I think he’ll still find some appealing reading material. The book guide is next on my list of pool side reading options.

That said, it may be that he joins me in my mystery reading this summer.

Get Fifty Books to Enjoy with Kids

50-booksFifty Books to Enjoy with Kids was written by Veronica Getskow, my mom and a college professor specializing in early childhood education, with help from my sister and me. The book includes:

:: A reading guide of 50 books and a synopsis for each
:: Links to the World Cat library catalog so parents can easily find the books in their local library
:: Extension activities, recipes, and field trip ideas for each book on the list
:: Printable reading logs for kids to track their books
:: Printable book marks in full color as well as blank ones for kids to color themselves
:: Reading awards for a job well done

(The fifty books are NOT included, but this reading list will help you get to them and to enjoy them with your kids.)

Get the book in PDF or on kindle.

Summer Reading as a Family

Reading books with my kids has always been one of my favorite pastimes. We’ve experienced some of the best stories together.

Whether your kids are 2 or 20 you can still read books together. It just looks different at every age. When my kids were all little, we read picture books and did crafts and activities to go with, like those listed in Fifty Books to Enjoy with Kids.

As they grew, we transitioned some to family read alouds, novels that I would read with the whole family listening (and some playing and half-listening).

Now that some kids have outgrown my read aloud sessions, they come to me for book recommendations. My 18yo recently asked if I had any good books to read, knowing that we’ve shared the love of good mysteries in the past. I directed him to Poirot, of course. While I am no longer reading to him, we’re still sharing the story experience.

I highly recommend making summer reading a priority this year. It’s a great way to relax, to grow and expand your mind — and that of your kids — and a good way to spend time together.

How do YOU make summer reading work at your house?

Summer Reading for Moms and Kids

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  1. It took me FOREVER to realize that DUH! I can change the print size on my Kindle and read while walking on the treadmill. It’s changed my life! I actually want to walk so I have a few more minutes to squeeze in some reading time. Do you know of any books about baseball or football that are in the 3-6 grade reading levels that are good reads? One of my sons is into sports books but its hard to find any that don’t have topics in them that I don’t think need to be in kids books.

    1. When I taught public school, I remember books by Chris Crutcher being about sports that the kids liked. HOWEVER, I also seem to remember some language, so you will need to preview those first to see if they fit in your family. It’s been 20 years since I looked at them. They may be a little too old for 3-6….

  2. So, for your 14 y. o., what about the classics, such as Jane Eyre? I know, typically a girls’ recommendation, but usually those are good for more conservative teenagers, and surely there are more male oriented classics. On the other hand, he might totally enjoy them, and it could be really fun to discuss these books with him to hear a guy’s point of view on these stories. 🙂 I may have to do that when my little guys is bigger, as I’ve never had brothers and mostly girl friends who like to read.

  3. I read every night before I go to bed. My 9 year old is in the summer reading program at the library, which requires he reads 30 minutes every day. I also still read with him before bed. My 17 year old daughter and I have shared books before, and it was nice. She usually wins the teen summer reading program, but since she just graduated, she’s not eligible this summer.

  4. I was going to suggest classics for you 14 ye old also – jack London’s books; the last of the Mohicans, Sherlock Holmes, & Dickens

    1. He’s working on Agatha Christie right now. He has read Sherlock Holmes already and didn’t like London. But, Mohicans is a good suggestion as is Dickens. Thanks!

  5. My husband reads to the kids before bed all year long… they love it! My son (12) is reading The Hobbit right now, and most of my kids (5 out of almost 7, ages 13, 12, 11, 9 and 5) are enjoying listening to the Percy Jackson series on audiobook.

  6. Oh, my. Yes, sadly some of the young adult books nowadays are a bit much. I’m the Grandma of a 2nd and 4th grader, so not much personal experience there, lately. But, I also volunteer at the library book sale. I know some of the parents encourage Agatha Christie. I also suggest other mystery authors from that era such as Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers and Margery Allingham. Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe mysteries would also be okay, I think. It is sad that so many of the popular authors now do include a lot more sex nowadays. Older mysteries are usually safer. Does he have any interest in non-fiction such as biography or history? I really enjoyed the auto-biography of the Baron von Trapp’s World War I submarine service. Good luck and happy reading.