Skip to main content
Recording Observations: Journals and Field Notes

Background Knowledge

Summer Literacy Challenge!

For most parents, it’s a challenge to keep kids reading and writing all summer. Dive into these 10 ideas to help make this summer full of fun, creativity, and learning.

For most parents, it’s a challenge to keep kids reading and writing all summer. Suddenly 10 weeks of summer can feel like a very long time! We’ve got a summer literacy challenge for you and your child. It’s modest enough to be manageable — pick just one thing a week to kick start your week’s literacy adventures. But it’s also challenging enough to include a wide range of literacy fun for the whole family.

1. Investigate your public library’s summer reading program

Most libraries offer a special program or two during the summer, including puppet shows, book authors and children’s storytellers. Most are free of charge.

2. Extend your reading circle

We often find ourselves checking out the same types of books over and over again. This week’s challenge is to bring a new type of book into the house. Consider fantasy or science fiction, historical fiction, poetry, biography, or an informational book.

3. Listen up!

Audiobooks are a great way to engage readers and can introduce students to books above their reading level. Many libraries have audiobooks available for checkout, and an Internet search can turn up several sites, including, that offer free audio books for children.

4. Make your own audiobook!

Most phones and computers have simple recording apps on them which are perfect for making homemade audiobooks! Have your child make up a story, or reread a favorite loved book. The recordings will be priceless!

5. Go wordless

Wordless picture books are told entirely through their illustrations — they are books without words, or sometimes just a few words. Grab a few wordless books the next time you’re at the library and have fun “reading” different versions of the same story. The language and the conversation will inspire you!

6. Visit a museum, online!

You’ll be surprised by how much you can explore without leaving your house. One example is the Smithsonian Institution Kids (opens in a new window) site. It’s complete with offerings from Art to Zoo, for kids and students of all ages.

7. Pack in a whole adventure

Find FREE themed reading adventure packs that encourage hands-on fun and learning, centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. Visit our Reading Adventure Packs section.

8. Point, click, and write

Most families have access to a digital camera, iPad or camera phone. Snap some photos and then encourage your child to write a silly caption for each photo. Not feeling that ambitious? Cut out some pictures from a magazine or the newspaper and have your child write original captions for those.

9. Mix up the media

Your child has read every Clifford book on the shelf. But has she heard Clifford author Normal Bridwell talk about writing? Explore author interviews from over 150 authors in our library of author and illustrator interviews. We’ll bet you can’t watch just one.

10. Write it down

Encourage your child to keep a simple journal or summer diary. Track interesting things like the number of fireflies seen in one minute, the number of mosquito bites on a leg, or the different types of food that can go on the grill. Each entry is a chance to be creative!

Download this article

Download this article in Spanish

View this article in Spanish (opens in a new window)

Subscribe to Growing Readers!

Get our free monthly parent tips — in English and Spanish — delivered right to your inbox!

Sign Up for Growing Readers

You are welcome to print copies or republish materials for non-commercial use as long as credit is given to Reading Rockets and the author(s). For commercial use, please contact [email protected].