Inside: Summer Reading Bingo + FREE Printable
We love good summer reading incentive programs. They motivate new readers and encourage reading progress. They also help fill lazy, hazy summer days.
And, best of all, they can be a great opportunity for kids to avoid summer brain drain by making connections to what they learned during the year.
But here’s the thing with those great summer reading programs. Everyone’s so excited at first…then a week goes by and suddenly it feels like work. Track your time. Write in the title. What time did you start reading? Do audio books count? Magazines? Instruction manuals??
Finally! Your kid completes one, and you’re ready to turn one in at the library, restaurant, or other location running the program. And you realize you forgot to bring it with you. (Just us?)
How about something to motivate summer reading in a little more relaxed way?
Summer Reading Bingo
Instead of a reading sheet with blank spaces, try playing Summer Reading Bingo with your kids. Here are some of the perks of doing it this way:
- It starts with a Free Space. Instant motivation.
- Not every box needs to be completed. Not overwhelming.
- Categories can cross over. More boxes completed, more motivation to continue.
- Kids can see their progress. Visual motivation.
- You determine your own prizes. You already know what will motivate them best.
Are you noticing the trend? Playing reading bingo encourages summer reading but gives your kids the opportunity to be more self-motivated in a fun, easy way.
How to Make It Happen This Summer
Since summer days have a different rhythm, they usually require adjustment time. And sometimes adding in something new can be tricky.
Ease into that new rhythm and help reading time happen on a regular basis with these ideas:
- Decide ahead of time. It’s easier to begin a new rhythm before you’re in the thick of things. Set some general expectations before you’re running to activities, scheduling playdates, etc.
- Pair reading with something else consistent. We always read at breakfast. We always read in the car. We always read after nighttime bath. Think about what could work for your routine and give it a try.
- Choose some books ahead of time. Go through the categories with your kids and come up with a list of book ideas. Less decision fatigue for your kids means it’s more likely to happen. (Search the Book Finder for ideas!)
- Put those book options in a basket. Make a library run or shop your bookshelves and place a stack in a basket. Someone needs a book to read? There’s a perfect one right there in the basket.
- Determine simple prizes. Keep it simple (and manageable for you) but motivating. A snow-cone outing per finished card. A movie night when everyone finishes one. Choose some small, simple things you know will motivate them.
- Hit reset when needed. Maybe breakfast time reading isn’t working. Switch it up and try a week of bedtime reading instead. Maybe everyone’s tired of the books in the basket. Time for a new book list brainstorm and a library run. Don’t let a lag turn into the doldrums by pushing through when it’s not working for everyone. Reset and start afresh!
FREE Summer Reading Bingo Download
So what’s on the FREE Summer Reading Bingo download?
- Reading Bingo Card
- Book Idea Planning Sheet
The bingo spaces are varied by category of books and fun ways to read. You’ll find suggestions for reading about specific types of characters (like a scientist), specific genres of books (like historical fiction), and locations of where to read (like reading under a tree).
The planning sheet provides space to brainstorm and write down ideas for books to complete those bingo spaces. Make a list of ideas, and visit the library as often as needed.
Note: When you click the above link, you’ll be redirected to our Shop. Follow through the process and your guide will be available for immediate download!
What About Age Ranges?
Summer Reading Bingo works for all ages depending on how you use it. You could:
- Read aloud to them.
- Have them read to you.
- Set a daily rhythm for independent reading.
- Have younger kids read to older kids.
- Have older kids read to younger kids.
- Listen to an audio book as a family.
This gives you and your kids lots of flexibility and freedom for summer reading.
A quick word on a book’s recommended age range. Don’t feel bound by the publisher’s recommendation. We’re all for kids reading outside of age recommendations, when appropriate.
That being said, summer doesn’t need to be a time to push kids up a reading level. Aim for enjoyment and consistency, and you’ll almost certainly see natural progress.
Kickstart Your Summer Reading
A few minutes of printing and planning is all it takes. No pressure from long book lists and blank spaces to complete. Now, you have a direction for your family’s summer reading. You can ease into summer with a plan to fill those lazy days with relaxed reading time.