Host a Summer Reading Party

Reading is important, but how to you encourage kids to keep reading over the summer?

Reading is fun!

Check your local library and bookstores to see if they have any summer reading programs.

PBS Kids offers some great ideas for raising a reader this summer.  They’ve partnered with iVillage to form a Summer Community Reading Challenge with free daily emails with reading tips, book suggestions, prizes and more.

One fun activity is to host a summer reading party.

The great folks at PBS sent me a kit to have a summer reading party, which I did with the tot’s class.  We talked about why reading is important, read a story together (Green Eggs and Ham), made a group story, wrote and drew pictures about our favorite books, and everone got a goodybag with books and bookmarks to take home.

But you don’t need a kit or anything fancy to have a reading party of your own. It’s a great way not only to keep the excitement about going, but bringing parents and kids together.  There’s no wrong way to have a reading party. Here are a few of my ideas:

  1. Decide on a theme. Maybe you feature summer books and have the party outside by the pool, or maybe your living room becomes an ocean wonderland. Perhaps everyone is encouraged to come dressed as their favorite character from a book.  Design your invitations around your theme–invite the kids and parents.
  2. Have a book exchange. Encourage everyone to bring a wrapped gently-loved age-appropriate book to trade.  You can even have two exchanges, one for the kids and one for the adults. Everyone who brings a book to trade will get a different one to bring home and keep.
  3. Read a story that fits with your theme. If it’s a well-loved story, maybe your guests help you read it, either by passing the book around and everyone reading a page or by filling in the words (or correcting you when you’re “wrong.”)
  4. Have an art project. Bookmarks are fun and easy and can be made using construction paper, crayons, and whatever you have around (stickers, glitter, etc). You can also have the kids (and adults, if they’d like) draw a picture of their favorite book and write a few sentences about why it’s their favorite.
  5. Create a group story. Make up a fill0in0the-blanks story ahead of time then have everyone throw out word suggestions without knowing what the story is.  Add in their words, then read out loud the finished story and let the laughter ensue.  With younger kids it can be fun to write it on a big piece of  paper using simple words and have them read the story back to you.
  6. Serve a snack that tie in with the theme. It doesn’t need to be fancy — fruit skewers, gold fish, or, if it fits your theme, green eggs and ham.
  7. Hold your book exchange (if you decide to do one), have everyone share the books they’ve either just read or look forward to reading, collect their art projects, and go home.

If you had a reading party what would you do?

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