6 Tips for When Your Kids Refuse to Do Their Summer Reading

6 tricky ways to support your super-reluctant reader with last-minute summer reading.

By Amy Mascott



6 Tips for When Your Kids Refuse to Do Their Summer Reading

Imagine this: The first day of school is less than a week away, and your child's summer reading log is blank. Empty. Zero books read. Tons of spaces left open for titles of books that should have taken him through the summer months.

The summer work packet that arrived in take-home folders way back in June is staring at you mockingly: Three months since school let out, and your kid hasn't even cracked me open. What kind of parent are you?

You look around your house, and you can't find a thing that would even begin to interest your kids at this point. One day, the kids are camped-out, vacationed-out, pooled-out, too tired to move. The next, they're bouncing off of the walls, too into summer mode to even consider packets of schoolwork.

What do you do? What can you do at this point, when your kids refuse to finish their summer reading?

First of all, breathe. Sure, we'd all like to say we've had a reading-filled summer and that our kids are 110% ready to walk into the school building in a few weeks. But the reality is that it's hard. And sometimes, life gets in the way.

You are not alone. Your kid is not the only one in the world who hasn't completed—or won't complete—summer reading. Don't lose hope.

Here are six ways to regain control and to get your kids psyched about finishing their summer reading before the bell rings on the first day:

  1. Have a family meeting.  Everyone needs to get together to regroup and talk about the new and improved summer reading and summer work plan.
  2. Make summer reading a double part of the day.  Like double practice sessions for fall high school sports, your kids are on a fast-tracked path at this point. Morning reading and evening reading for the next two weeks will get your children's reading finished.
  3. Read and refresh.  Take turns having each person in the family be in charge of reading time refreshments. Make them as easy or as involved as your family wants. Consider smoothies, milkshakes, or yogurt pops. Go healthy with a nut mix, cut veggies, or a fruit salad.
  4. Up the fun factor.  Find audio books to support texts, or choose books that can be followed up by watching the movie of the same title.
  5. Make a special trip to the library.  Start with a library scavenger hunt or do a little library-trip prep before you go.  Use our book lists as references and together find five books that interest your child. The key here is working together, talking about options, and leaving with a few great books that will be hits.
  6. Celebrate successes.  Turn up the music and have a little dance party after book one is read and added to your child's summer reading log. Or, after three books are finished, make "Booktastic Sundaes" to celebrate. When the whole summer reading log is filled out and complete, let the child pick a movie for an at-home movie night. Get the popcorn ready!

How do you help your kids get through their summer reading and summer school work? We'd love to hear it! Share your thoughts on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page, or find Amy on twitter, @teachmama, and let's continue the conversation!

Raise a Reader Blog
Age 10
Age 9
Age 8
Age 7
Age 6