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10 Ideas to Encourage Your Child to Read this Summer… That Aren’t Books


As parents and teachers, we know it is important to encourage children to read books. Both fiction and non-fiction books help foster a love of reading and literature. However, did you know there are SO many other things for children to read that also build fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills?!? This summer, when spending time together with your family, be on the lookout for new and different summer reading ideas you can incorporate into your daily activities. We have 10 ideas to encourage your child to read this summer… that aren’t books.

Summer Reading Idea 1 – Letters

Reading and writing letters is a fantastic way to build literacy skills. Do you have a family member (grandma, grandpa, aunt, or uncle) that could be a pen pal with your children? Reading these letters is not only a great way to build fluency, but your children will LOVE getting mail and will be so excited to read it. Then, take it one step further and encourage your children to put their writing skills to work by writing a letter back to that person.

2 – Vacation Literature

Going on vacation this summer? Encourage your children to read the vacation literature in order to learn about the fun attractions and locations you will visit. Let your children be the tour guides and encourage them to use the literature to help plan the family trip. This is a great summer reading idea without actually “reading”. ?

3 – Menus

If you are dining out or ordering in, give your children the menu and let them read the selections. Talk to your children about the menu prices and items. Also, discuss the menu organization.  Reading the menu fosters independence and encourages them to build their comprehension and reading skills.

Summer Reading Idea 4 – Game Instructions

Children love to play games! Whatever game you decide to play, encourage your children to read the directions. When your children are unsure of the game rules, prompt them to return to the directions and see if they can figure it out. Try these file folders games for new and educational game options for your family. File folder games are easy to print and assemble and children practice reading and math skills while having fun!

5 – Manuals

Let your child lend a helping hand when working on projects this summer. For example, putting together a piece of furniture is a task that children can help complete. So, encourage your child to help do the reading. Reading manuals and directions is an important skill and it is much different than reading a book! Encouraging your children to read manuals and helping them understand the directions is a valuable life skill.

6 – Newspapers

Newspapers are full of articles, advertisements, and more! Newspapers can expose your children to a wide variety of print. First, scan the newspaper yourself for kid-friendly sections and give those to your children to read. Then, consider reading the newspaper together in the mornings to create a family reading routine.

Summer Reading Idea 7 – Magazines

There are many kid-friendly magazines and some of them are available at your local library. There are also subscription opportunities, such as Ranger Rick. Subscribe and your child could receive a magazine in the mail! Children will be excited to read their new magazines, and even more excited to get their own mail. Take magazines in the car for reading fun on long drives!

8 – Signs

While driving in the car, or browsing the stores, point out signs that are all around. Encourage your children to read the signs on their own. Not only does this build literacy skills, but it also teaches them to be aware of their surroundings. It is a fun summer reading idea that kids don’t really think of as “reading”.

9 – Food Labels

Taking a trip to the grocery store? Encourage your children to read the items from the list and the items on the shelf at the store. Then, incorporate writing into the trip by encouraging your children to write a list of their favorite foods or have them help write the grocery list. Use this printable grocery list freebie to get started.

Summer Reading Idea 10 – Cards

Birthday cards, graduation cards, whatever cards your family receives over the summer – encourage your children to read the cards! If you are headed to the store to purchase a card for someone, perhaps let your children browse the cards with you and talk about what each one says.


Don’t get discouraged if your children don’t want to read all of the books this summer. Instead, keep your eyes open for new and different reading opportunities for your children. Letters and words are all around us and it is important for young learners to be exposed to and read various types of print. Happy Summer Reading! If you have any summer reading ideas that aren’t books, please leave them in the comments below.

Written by –  Sarah Cason

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Welcome! I’m Emily, Founder of Education to the Core. We are all about helping K-2 teachers by providing unlimited access to affordable printables for every subject area.