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  • Writer's pictureGaila Cohen Morrison

Dear Gaila - Summer Projects to do with Children that Encourage Reading Part I

Dear Gaila,

Summer is around the corner. Since I'm off with them anyway, I'd like to take advantage of the vacation and encourage their reading and writing in English skills. On the other hand, it's vacation! I want them to enjoy their time. Do you have any creative ideas to do with them?

Desperate-For-Ideas Mom

Get your kids busy creating Reading incentives

Dear D.F.I. Mom,

I remember clearly those long summer days with my young children. Yup, that and "what can we do now?" Always on the lookout for things to do or experience in the summer. Glitter, crayons, molding clay and other wonderful crafts at the hobby store occupied us for a while.

I have quite a few ideas for the summer. Let's start off with one that will keep them occupied for many hours:

Here's a nice project to do with your children which will encourage reading - you can spend an hour with stickers, crayons, glitter, and all other hobby store wonders, creating a wonderful Reading chart!

This wonderful reading chart is better than just an hour or two of art projects. Personalized reading charts will motivate your child to fill it up with books they've read.

Get your kids to read in the summer!

First off, discuss beforehand the importance of reading and how you would like a goal for your family that everyone reads X number of books. You TOO! Of course there will be a celebration (homemade ice cream sundaes, waffles, steak dinner, a nice outing to the hills, or a swim, - whatever tickles the family fancies) once everyone has met that goal.

How do you choose an appropriate goal? On the one hand, it can't be too much that they will feel it's hopeless. On the other hand, you want them to be challenged!

I suggest that the goal be reasonable and age appropriate. Little ones can have books read to them and perhaps draw a picture about each one. Readers can have a goal of 5 books or 10 or 2! It depends on their reading level. I would suggest a goal that will take 10-20 hours.

Create a reading chart together and then read!

Next, take out a big piece of cardboard, a canvas, drawing pad or construction paper. I suggest using a pencil to create the chart itself. You can draw 5, 10 or 2 boxes (or book-like boxes) to be filled up with the name of books read. The more artistically challenged mother out there can draw a simple numbered list. Or if you are more talented you can create a more complex art piece. Google "Reading Chart" for more ideas out there. Of course, if your child is old enough they can do this part too! Have them choose the best chart idea and draw it out.

Now let your kids go wild with art supplies - glitter, markers, stickers, paint, washi tape, crayons, rainbow feathers, foam paint and basically anything you can find in your local art supply store.

Have fun and then start them reading to their goal!

I'll be back next week with more summer vacation ideas for reading and writing!


Gaila has almost 40 year of experience teaching and runs A.H.A.V.A., a non-profit to promote English literacy. Would you like to ask Gaila a question? Email us at or send us a message. Look out for more Dear Gaila columns

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