The Reading Challenge That Will Get Your Kids Reading This Summer
Did you know that summer reading is critical for kids to retain knowledge and skills learned in the previous school year?
A recent study made by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, shows that children who don’t read over the summer lose at least 2 months of reading development. This is often referred to as “summer slide.”
Over time, the summer learning slide can add up to the equivalent of three years of reading loss by the end of fifth grade. (RIF).
Kids that do read over the summer may gain a month of proficiency in reading plus improvement of important critical thinking skills.
If your kids don’t love reading, getting them to read is easier said than done.
That’s why I came up with the summer reading challenge for my kids.
One of my boys loves to read and the other one not so much. Reading during the summer is not as fun when there are lots of other cool things that you can be doing.
Summer Reading Challenge
The Summer Reading Challenge is super easy and consists of exchanging books for money.
Your kids will earn money every time they finish reading a book. A week before school starts, take your kids to the store for them to buy whatever they want with the money they earned!
When your kids start seeing how much money they are making they will be excited about reading and finishing a book. It works like a charm!! No more battles trying to get your kids to read.
(If you don’t feel comfortable giving money to your kids maybe they can read a certain amount of books for a trip to a water park or a theme park!)
How much money per book?
How much money you pay them per book depends on the age of your kids, the size of the book they read and how much you can afford to give them. There is no right or wrong amount to give.
When my boys were in kindergarten and first grade I use to pay them 50 cents per book. If the book was big, then I will give them a $1.
Second and third grade I used to give them $1 unless it was a big book, some were $2 and some $3.
For reading the whole Beginners Children’s Bible I gave them $10, this is one book I sure want them to read and they were excited about reading the bible and making money at the same time.
Now, they just finished 4th and 6th grade so the books are bigger so they are usually $5 per book. Both of my boys are advanced readers so they can read pretty big books now.
What you need for the summer reading challenge
- Make sure that you have plenty of books that are age appropriate and reading level appropriate. It’s ok to have 1 challenging book!
- Get a couple of new books for them to read. Kids always get excited by new books.
- Since my boys are older, I tried to pick a couple of books that I know are going to be a blessing for them. For example, I like to buy them Christian books that I know will be good for them.
- Keep track of the books they are reading in a place where they can see it. This will keep them tracking their process and excited about how much money they are making!
- When they finish a book, have your kids give you a summary of the book. Feel free to ask questions to make sure they are reading and understanding what they are reading.
- Take them to the store that way they can see what kind of things they would like to buy when they are done with the challenge. This will help motivate them and keep them aiming for their goals.
What ages is this challenge good for?
This challenge is good for preschool and up!
Since reading is so important you can read with your kids and help them with their challenge when they are not able to read by themselves.
One of the best ways to learn is to see others do it. So sit down with your little ones and show them how to read.
Give them a jar or a bag to keep their money in and teach them about money, saving, spending, etc. This is great for their critical thinking!
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Books that your kids will love for the summer reading challenge
Preschool & Kindergarten
Pete The Cat
You and your kid will fall in love with Pete The Cat. These books were favorites when I was a preschool teacher at a Mother’s Day out. There are lots of books to choose from.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see?
This one is another preschool favorite. I also used to read this book to my boys when they were babies.
Chicka Chicka, Boom Boom
This is a rhythmic alphabet chant that your kids will love. It’s a simple story of the letters racing to the coconut tree. I highly recommend this book.
The very hungry caterpillar
This book have unique illustrations, it is interactive and rhythmic.
Frolic Preschool Bible
This is one of the cutest Bibles for preschoolers. It has 20 stories from the Old Testament and 20 from The New Testament. This little bible is perfect for the summer challenge for both preschool and kindergarten.
Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Collection
These books are perfect for beginner readers. The stories,and the rhyming will have your kids reading these books over and over again this summer.
Non-fiction Sight Word Readers
Contains 25 books and focuses on 25 sight words. The stories and the pictures are engaging. These are perfect for kids to master s
Pete the Cat Reading Collection
Pete The Cat is a must have and these cute little books are perfect for beginner readers. T
School Zone-Big Second Grade
I am a big fan of these books. I have used these books to keep my kids learning during the summer. They have small stories with questions for reading comprehen
I highly recommend this book!
The Best Seat in Second Grade
This book is geared towards kids who can read on their own but still need a little help. This is a cute book with entertaining illustrations. If your child is an advanced reader, this book may be a little too easy for him/her.
Get ready for second grade, Amber Brown
This book is perfect for kids going into second grade that may feel a little nervous.
The Beginner’s Bible
This is my favorite kids Bible of all time. It has super cute illustrations and it’s easy for the kids to read and understand the stories. I have been reading this
Magic Tree House Boxed Set
The #1 bestseller chapter book of all times. Jack and his younger sister, Annie, are just regular kids. But when they discover a tree house in the woods, something magical happens.
When I used to work at an elementary school, this series was one of their favorites.
This series was one of my boys favorite. These books are perfect for kids who don’t love reading. They are funny, cheesy and engaging. Plus, your kids can watch the movie to get them even more excited about the books!
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
This bestselling book series is a must have when you are in 3rd grade. The books are filled with humor and entertaining drawings. Plus there are movies that go with some of the books. The movies are great too!
The Magic School Bus
Kids already love The Magic School Bus series, so these books are a great addition to their book collection and perfect for their summer reading challenge.
I Survived Series
History’s most exciting and terrifying event are brought back to life with this amazing book series. These are the stories told by kids and how they survived. Once your kid reads the first book, he or she will be asking for more books!
Eight to ten year olds will love this series. You will hear your kids giggle as they read about the adventures of Nate.
Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing
Several of my son’s classmates had to read this book as an assignment and they loved it. Looking at the reviews I can see that it has been a favorite book for 4th graders for years.
Adventure Bible For Little Ones
Even though it sounds like this Bible is for young kids. I think is perfect for 4th and 5th graders, because they can read it by themselves without any trouble. The Bible is the best book that any kid can read!
A Series of Unfortunate Events
This is the story of the very unlucky Baudelaire siblings. The stories are creative and entertaining. These are really fun books!
Treasure Hunters by James Patterson
James Patterson is one of my boy’s favorite authors. He has a lot of great books for kids. The Treasure Hunter series is a bestseller and a great read for kids.
Chronicles of Narnia
C. S. Lewis books have been a favorite for people of all ages for over 60 years. Your kids will love the epic battles of good and evil and magical lands.
A Kid’s Guide To The Armor of God
This book is a little Bible study for kids by one of my favorite preachers: Tony Evans. In this book, your kids will discover what is the armor of God and how to use it.
We live in a world where our kids are surrounded by things that bring destruction to their lives. The sooner we teach them how to deal with the world in a godly way the better off they will be. This book is great for any
6th Grade and up
I think, Wonder is a book that not only kids but also adults will benefit from reading it. I think it should be required for our kids to read it in school. The book teaches many great lessons along the way like love, compassion, how to overcome challenges, humanity, friendship and how to see beyond what your eyes see. Great book!
The Prince Warriors
Written by bestseller author Priscilla Shirer. The Prince Warriors is an epic, new, fiction, trilogy that brings to life the invisible struggle between the spiritual realm and uncovers truths from Ephesians 6:10-18.
The Actions Bible
This comic book-like bible is in chronological order making it easier for kids to read. The illustrations are beautiful and it has 200 stories. It is very important that kids read the bible because The Word of God is life and health to all of our flesh.
Battlefield of The Mind for Teens
I think this is a must have book for teens or tweens because it guides them on how to deal with the battle in their minds. This book contains relevant information that helps kids deal with things like peer pressure.
There are both kid and adult versions of this book. I highly recommend both of them. It’s a great way to do a book study as a family!
As you can see there are many great books that you can buy to get your kids excited for the summer reading challenge.
Having not only great books to read but also a little incentive to do it is great for getting your kids reading!
There are so many awesome books out there that it makes it difficult to narrow it down to just a few. Look around and find a few, sit with your little ones, unplug each evening and bond over a good book.
If you want to know about Best Children’s Bibles by age check this post.
If you know of another great book we can add to this list let me know in the comments!
I love that you have a wide variety of books for children to get into! I was well into my late teens before I gained an interest in reading because most of my school’s assigned readings were nowhere close to my interests!
The same thing happened to me. I was always a good reader because my mom made me read all the time, but it wasn’t until I found books that I wanted to read that I develop a love for books.
I love this idea! Thank you for the great books to check into
I have my Grandson all summer..this is going to be a new summer tradition!
I am so glad to hear that. I hope you have a wonderful summer with your grandson!
Thanks for these suggestions. I am working on making a habit of reading and math this summer, and this definitely covers the reading part of it. I am all about incentive and paying a price per book will definitely get my kids on the right track to a summer of reading.
There are a ton of great websites that you can use for math. I like to use Khanacademy.com for my boys during the summer.
My kids loved the Magic Treehouse books when they were small. We must have the whole set somewhere. This is a great list.
I think my kids read them all!
What a great list of reading material for the kids!
What a great idea! My grandson is 8 months old and loves his books! I hope he will always love reading.
The earlier you start the better!
I love this reminder to get my girls reading even more! When they were little, we did necklaces on chains so on every 20 minutes of reading to me, they earned a super cool big animal bead and they would slide it onto the necklace. I took them to the store to let them pick out the beads and they were so thrilled by it, but now that they are older, the money will definitely be more of a draw for them! Thanks for the reminder!
That is such an awesome idea for little kids!
My kids still adore many of these books. Me too!
What a great idea and book list. Thanks for sharing!
Love the challenge! My kids love getting their own “money!” I also love your book choices. We have read many of those on your list. A Boy Named Wonder….everyone should read and see the movie! If you wanna teach your children kindness that book/movie can really do it! Also the Action Bible is amazing!!
I will add that one to the list!
Teacher here! And I love, love, love this!!! Keep those brains growing in the summer!
Great post and great selection of books. My son loves the Action Bible (and I’ll confess that I enjoyed reading it, too. The stories come alive in a new way.) I had no idea that Joyce Meyer had a book for teens. I’ll have to get that for him, too.
It is a great book too!
So fun! I remember doing reading challenges during the Summer months as a child. My daughter is just starting to learn her letters at three years old; we read every day!
It’s good to keep your kids reading during the summer. I’m a former teacher and have seen a great academic loss when they don’t. When my kids were younger they kept busy, not as school time busy, but busy with academics. I also had the same Bible for them when they were little!
I used to work at a elementary school and you can’t tell when kids don’t read or do academics during the summer.
My boys always loved reading and excelled in summer programs. Our local library had one where they would win prizes every year! Thank you for sharing!
Our library does too!
This is a good suggestion! We pay our kids a substantial amount ($5 I think?) when they read a book off of a specific list we have compiled of great success principle books. It really gets them motivated to read those important books 🙂
What I usually do is I let them pick a couple of books and then I pick a couple of books for them to read, that way they have at least 4 books to read during the summer.
I miss my Saturday jaunt to the library with my little who is not so little any longer. Great list & suggestions!
It’s hard when the kids grow up.
What a great idea! My kids used to participate in a library program where they earned pizza and burgers, etc. I love the idea of them earning money from books.
Great book suggestions! My daughter LOVES Brown Bear Brown Bear – she “reads” because she has heard it so many times, but at 3 and a half, she’s not yet reading on her own. I’m happy she seems to love reading so much, though – I hope I can help her start to truly read before Kindergarten!
I love when little kids do this, but it is great because it keeps them encouraged to keep reading!
summer reading programs are one of my favorite things!!!
I love your variety of books. I am glad that you are focusing on helping your children to love reading at an early age!
A reading challenge is a good idea. I usually require them to read at least 5 or 6 days a week during the summer. I’ll have to think some more about how a challenge can work for us. We have a ton of books. My friend gave us a bookshelf full of old library books a few years ago.
Wow that was such a blessing. We have a ton of books also but my boys have out-grown some books so we give those away.
I’ve done this, too! Also for math. It works!!!!!
Doesn’t it? 😊
Love this! My younger son does the challenge at TWO local libraries – and the older two have to pick two from their high school list to read – then I add 2 more to their list! They might grumble but they do enjoy the books!
Plus it’s so good for them!
I love the idea of a reading challenge (whether you choose money or other incentives) to keep the kids in learning mode, give them time away from “screens”, and build a lifelong habit of reading!
Yes I agree, it doesn’t have to be money. There are a lot of things that they can earn instead of money, like ice cream!
My favorite part of summer growing up was getting to read more! I love reading challenges for kids! I always like to check out which challenges are going on at the library!
This a great idea! I love it and will start this challenge with my boys. I love your list of suggested books.
Thx, I am you find it helpful!
My mom would do this. We didn’t have tv so if we read five books, shed borrow our neighbors television and we’d have a movie marathon. Other times it would be an icecream party or one candy bar per book or a pizza party. She did this the whole year.
All those are wonderful ideas!
Wonderful, reading is so important for little ones! 🙂
What an inspired idea it is to have a summer reading program. While the children are keeping their reading skills sharp, they can also have adventures with their imaginations. Maybe finding a friend with whom to do the challenge could be an added incentive. My son and my husband had a reading challenge, and the competition inspired our son to read more than he would have otherwise.
Yes, whatever it takes to get the kids reading and developing the love for books.
My son is in college, and there are so many of those books still in his room! He always participated in the summer challenges, but he was given points … and those points were very important to him. 🙂
I remember reading The Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing, too!!!
Awww lovely memories.
Someone actually just told me about doing something similar to this. I don’t know if we’ll do it for summer but definitely during the school yr!
Oh, how my boys loved so many of the books you had on your list! Summer reading was definitely a big thing around our house! It was tough for them having an English teacher for a mom! 🙂
😂 I can only imagine but I am sure they were blessed also to have you as a mommy!
Great motivational idea! I have a couple of grandsons who don’t really enjoy reading. But they sure like to make money! I’ll pass this post on to my son.
Love all the memories evoked by those book covers! I remember the bleary nights repeating Brown Bear Brown Bear a million times, and how happy I was when we finally graduated to Magic Treehouse! Great tips for getting them excited for reading. Mine would love it if I gave them a cash reward!
I do too remember reading Brown Bear like it was yesterday! Wonderful memories.
Great picks…my daughter isn’t quite 3 yet, so she doesn’t read on her own, but she loves the Pete the Cat books!
Yes, those are always a favorite of preschoolers.
I was very fortunate and never had to worry about encouraging or motivating my children to read. All three boys are avid readers ~ the problem now is finding MORE books for them to add to their libraries. You have written about a great idea and I hope it helps other parents in their quest to stretch their children’s imaginations through books! (PS – Wonder is an amazing book!)
I agree, Wonder is an awesome book!