Summer Book Club for all ages

It almost seems incredible but I have heard people say to me "I just don't have time to read". That is the precise reason a person must read! And for those of you who have caught yourself saying that then make your first book one on time management.

YES! We do have time to read.

When our kids are very little we must read to them. The more we read to them the more they will grow up loving books.

Kids love books that they can grab ahold of and turn the pages and look at the silly pictures even before they have a sense that there are words on those pages. But the more we read to them the more they figure it out.

And when you have little kids like this in your house it might seem like you don't have time to read but you don't always have to read baby books to them. There was a great scene in the movie Three Men and a Baby where Tom Selleck's character was reading Sports Illustrated or some other grownup magazine to the baby. It didn't matter what the book was he suggested. It was more important to have a soft voice. It has been suggested that introducing children to a wider vocabulary can improve their grades when they get into elementary school and beyond.

Here are a couple of ways to incorporate reading into your busy summer:

1. GAMIFY READING

Create a point system for your family for minutes spent reading. Keep track and reward top points earners. You can even give yourself double points if you read together!

Play Book themed games like

  • listing books that have been made into movies
  • starting with the letter A and then going through the alphabet list book names or characters from books
  • dress up like our favorite book character
  • Play word games. There are several you can find online. Here is one of our favorite pages for word games: Merriam-Webster Word games

2. SUMMER READING PROGRAM at YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY

Join your local library's summer reading program. They all have one. If for some reason they don't then start one yourself at your local library. Using the library is a great way for kids to stay social during the summer while still learning something. It is also one of the best ways to help the family budget. Taking advantage of library movie nights and other events is a great way to have family fun that is easy on the pocketbook.


3. FAMILY READING CLUB

Years ago my husband realized that with everyone's busy schedule it might be easy to lose touch with our teenagers. If you have a teenager then you know that you can ask them a series of questions and get some very basic replies back which really don't give you any insight into what they are actually thinking about or what is actually going on in their life. So, instead my husband designed a family reading club where each person in the family got to pick out the book that we would all read and then we could talk about what it was about that book that each person found most interesting.

For us this was an amazing exercise because it led us all to read books that we would never have picked up otherwise. One son picked a werewolf story, our daughter chose a historical fiction about a young girl, another son chose a spy novel, and I made them read Beowulf.  I had to read Beowulf when I was in school and it was painful. So, I thought if they read it in advance then it would be easier on them. It turns out no teacher makes anyone read Beowulf anymore AND the kids LOVED it! For them they could easily picture all of the drama because it was like one of their favorite video games that they like to play.

Having your child pick out a favorite book and then reading it together and discussing it together is a great way to let them know that their ideas are important to you and not just their accomplishments.

4. USED BOOK STORES

If you don't have a used book store in your area then visit a Goodwill or other thriftstore that sells books and have your kids look for a fun book to buy. Encourage them to pick out a book about something that is new to them. It could be about gardening or cooking or history.  Anything that is new to them and gets them to think about something different.

5. THE READING LOG

Keep a log book of all of the books you read over the summer with a little note by each title. You don't have to stop in September. It is fun to see your list of books and which ones you loved and didn't like.

6. MAKE A LIST & VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE BOOK

Make your own list of the top 100 BEST books ever! Compare your list with everyone in your family. You can get inspired by visiting the Public Broadcasting System website and checking out their list. PBS has a Great American Read challenge #GreatReadPBS with a fantastic list of 100 books. Check it out and vote for your favorite! PBS.org/GreatAmericanRead

6. MAKE YOUR OWN BOOK

One thing I love is looking back on a book that my mom helped me put together one summer. Have your kids design their own cover and then make pages that include ticket stubs from movies they go to or a pressed leaf from a tree they like to play under or photographs or drawings or watercolors or short written stories about their adventures during the summer.

Summer time goes by too fast and childhood slips away even faster. These memories that the kids preserve themselves will be cherished collections later in life.


No matter how you incorporate books and reading into your summer just make sure you do.

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