Summer Reading Under the Stars #SummerReading

by Jennifer Donovan

This post is part of a sponsored program with Scholastic, but Jennifer D. loves to encourage reading, so her thoughts are her own.


Summer is here for us in Texas, evidenced by the heat and the fact that school is out. Tell me I’m not the only one who is already struggling with screen time! I was talking with a fellow tween mom and she said that summer = screens in her house. Do we like that? No. We want kids to interact with each other, we want them to read, we want them to enjoy family time.

Reading is so important. It keeps our kids’ brains engaged, and keeps their skills up. In fact, many times kids are so busy during the school year that they don’t have time to read, even if they like to!

Here are a few things we have in our summer schedule that insure that reading is something that happens each day. I hope you’ll want to try some of the ideas:

  • Wake up and read — My son (10) is an early-bird. When he wakes up, he knows what he can do — read. I know that later in the day he will be playing computer or watching TV, but he always starts the day with 15 to 45 minutes of reading in the morning. He also likes to have a book with him at the breakfast table!
  • Read more than books — Some kids, especially those who don’t think they like to read, are turned off by a “boring book.” Reading is reading. Try magazines, fact anthologies, or comics. The books that stay in the breakfast room by our table are Calvin & Hobbes and Peanuts comic strip anthologies!
  • Take a book every time you get in the car — We do a LOT of extra reading on vacation road trips, but even throughout the year, I have my kids bring a book to keep them entertained.
  • Try something new — Get a flashlight and invite your kids to read under the stars or in a cozy rocker on the front porch.
  • Make it a contest — Have them set a goal for each day, each week or for the summer and give them incentive to meet the goals. Maybe you want to get in on it, too. Let them see you reading! The Scholastic Summer Reading program has built-in goals and rewards. See below for more info and apps to help you out.

Click over to 5 Minutes for Books to read Scholastic’s 10 Tips to Keep Kids Reading this summer.

About the Program


The 2014 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is an exciting free, online reading program that motivates children to read throughout the summer, when school is out. Now in its 8th year, the program challenges kids (ages 5-14) to log their reading minutes, to earn fun rewards, and help a new world record for summer reading. Parents and teachers can register children (grades K-8) at and children can log minutes now through September 5th, 2014.

This year’s Summer Reading theme is Reading Under the Stars, and is powered by EVEREADY®, the flashlight and household battery company, to encourage families to discover new and fun ways to explore reading outside this summer.

Get Started Now

Summer Reading LogoSign up your children now at the Summer Reading Challenge page. Who doesn’t want to be a part of a world record? It’s kind of exciting. Individual goals are set for your kids each week, which pushes my son to do just a little bit more. They can also unlock badges,  which are fun.

Another neat feature is to see how many minutes your school has read. Put in your zip code to see what schools in your area are registered.

There’s also a Scholastic Reading Timer app for apple or android. We love this additional feature. The graphics are fun. You can either enter a set time as a goal or you can turn the timer on to record it. It’s great to use at home or on the go in the car.

Follow along

  • Every Monday, check Scholastic on Twitter for the #MondayMinutes. See the total number of minutes kids have read to date!
  • Every Friday, follow the Scholastic Facebook calendar for Friday Freebies!
  • Every Friday, check out the Summer Reading Challenge Pinterest Board for a new collage of summer books.
  • Tune in to Facebook on June 21 for the Summer Solstice Facebook Chat for Parents

Like Scholastic Parents on Facebook
Follow Scholastic on Twitter and Instagram
Follow the Summer Reading Challenge Pinterest Board
Like the Summer Reading Challenge YouTube Playlist

How do you encourage your kids to read in the summer? I’d love to hear. Please leave a comment and let me know.

Email Author    |    Website About Jennifer Donovan

Jennifer Donovan has been a part of the 5 Minutes for Mom team since 2007. She writes product reviews, covers events, and manages the 5 Minutes for Books weekly column and website. She lives in Houston and blogs at Snapshot about life with her family.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy Orvin June 13, 2014 at 11:49 pm

Having goals is a super tip. Reading is very important. I also like the tip about making it a contest. Making it fun is key to it being a success.


2 annes June 14, 2014 at 8:07 am

We read daily as it is a habit. Each evening and early morning we choose books for the day and then enjoy this time devoted to reading.


3 Erin Ellis June 14, 2014 at 8:34 am

I’ve made reading an important part of the day since my kids were infants. They can’t read yet, but they love to pretend that they know how :)


4 Cynthia C June 15, 2014 at 7:26 am

My kids loved reading and as adults they still do.


5 Crystal Rose June 15, 2014 at 4:03 pm

We do a lot of reading in our home and visit the library weekly. I love that there are programs like this.


6 Meagan bs June 16, 2014 at 11:12 am

we are paying our daughter a dime for every workbook page she completes and a dollar for every book she reads unassisted. hopefully this will motivate her!


7 Susan Smith June 16, 2014 at 3:26 pm

My family looks to read. We visit the library once a week to check out books.


8 Linda Szymoniak June 20, 2014 at 12:50 am

Books have always been a vital part of my life, and when my daughters were younger, I always had many, many books available for them. We would participate in the summer reading program at our local library, and as they got old enough, they even volunteered to help at the library. I’m glad to say that all three are still avid readers and I’m sure they’ll eventually pass this love of reading on to any children they may have.


9 Cheryl Free June 20, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Reading is one of the first and best things I ever learned to do.


10 Anne June 25, 2014 at 7:10 pm

I believe that one of the best ways to let kids know that reading is fun is to be a reader yourself. When they see you enjoying a book or magazine, they might just want to join you for reading time.


11 Jill Myrick June 25, 2014 at 9:56 pm

I try to find books on subjects that they are interested in such as pirates.
We also make up our own stories, write them down and read them back changing them up every so often.



12 heather June 26, 2014 at 7:42 pm

I like making reading a fun thing for kids. They learn to expand their minds and learn about other places and times.


13 Pam H. June 27, 2014 at 6:56 am

My kids are not avid readers, but they are competitive. I’m going to try creating a contest of who can read the most books this summer. I will treat the winner to something special. If they both participate, I’ll treat both. If I can get at least one to read more, I’ll be happy.


14 G June 27, 2014 at 7:55 am

I love that scholastic is still offering programs like this and rewarding children as a way to encourage them to read more….. When I was in elementary school, I actively participated in the program that scholastic had which offered free personal pan pizza coupons as a reward for reading a certain number of books. At the time I didn’t even like pizza, but I loved earning those coupons which I redeemed and gave to my mom and dad to enjoy and they would always treat me to something I did enjoy. As a child, I absolutely loved reading and read every book I could get my hands on…..I still love reading and think it’s very important to teach children the love of books, too….


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