Summer Reading Book Review Party & Swap

Kick off summer reading with a book review party and swap.

By Amy Mascott



What better way to kick off the exciting summer season of fun in the sun than by hosting a book swap? 

Book Swaps are a simple, worthwhile way of getting kids excited about reading during the long months of homework-free afternoons, and they are a great reason for getting friends together.  But more than that, Book Swaps are a super-awesome, totally sneaky way of getting kids to talk about books they've read. 

How do you host a Book Swap? Easy. 

Check out the full Book Swap skinny over at where you can even grab some Book Swap invitations and activity ideas. All you need to do for a rockstar Book Swap is: 

  • Send out an invite to some pals;
  • Ask them to bring 3-5 books that they are ready to share;
  • Have a few snacks ready for hungry bellies;
  • Get ready for some fun!

Once the Book Swap day arrives, it's safe to say that the attendees will be ready to get their hands on a few new books. In order to have the swap run smoothly, we suggest you:

  • Put the books out on a table;
  • Spread the books out and allow guests to look at each one;
  • Draw straws or numbers for the "choosing order" (small straw goes first, largest last, and then run through that order until books are gone);
  • Encourage each child to do a quickie "1-Hand" book review of 2-3 of their favorite books;
  • Talk to the kids about how to share their book reviews. 

1-Hand Book Reviews are quick and easy ways to guide kids through an abbreviated book review.  Children hold up a book and one of their hands, using their fingers to make sure they hit on five points:

1.  Thumb: This book is about . . . 

(Remember: before you can give it a thumbs up or down, share a quick summary.)

2.  Pointer Finger: I liked that . . .  

(Remember: first thing on first finger)

  • the characters were interesting. 
  • the mystery kept me wondering what would happen. 
  • the book took place at the beach. 

3.  Tall Man, or Middle Finger: I wish that. . .  

(Remember: big wish on biggest finger)

  • It was longer/ shorter because. . . 
  • they explained more about . . . 
  • this was part of a series.

4.  Ring Finger: One thing . . . 

(Remember: one thing on the ring finger)

  • I would ask the author . . . 
  • you should know . . . 
  • I loved/didn't care for  . . . 

5.  Pinky Finger: I think . . . 

(Remember: I thinky on the pinky)

  • that anyone who likes animals will like this book. 
  • that this is a little easy/just right/difficult to read, because. . . 
  • that most people who like sports will like this book.
  • that this was one of my favorite /least favorite books. 

Use the 1-Hand Book Review sheet for your Book Swap, and have a blast kicking off Summer Reading!

How does your family kick off Summer Reading? I'd love to hear what works for you! 

Share your thoughts on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page, or find Amy on Twitter, @teachmama, and let's continue the conversation!

Read all posts by Amy Mascott.

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