I am an avid reader and thankfully, my daughter has always been one too. But as a former teacher, I know how hard it can be to keep kids motivated to keep reading, even during the summer months. Our local library has a great program to help encourage a love of literacy through playing games. I’ve been a volunteer for it and it’s definitely fun and motivational.
The TD Summer Reading Program is kicking off at London Public Libraries with a Get Your Summer Read On Day on June 22, 2019. It’s a fun party for the whole family and gets everyone motivated for a summer of reading! Plus, while you’re there you can sign your kids up for the reading program. They can receive prizes from the library upon completion of books.
Some kids simply need a a gentle little push away from their screens and towards their books. This can be especially true in summer. Many libraries have summer reading programs like ours and these can really help. But we wanted something extra that we could do at home. That’s how we started playing Summer Reading Bingo.
HOW SUMMER READING BINGO WORKS
It’s as simple as this. First, there’s the fun of playing a game. And then there’s the extra motivation of winning prizes. Do you have to reward your kids with prizes? Nope. Some kids get excited simply to see the Bingo card fill up. They need no further reward. You decide what approach works best for your kids.
I’ve taught in schools of kids who sadly had given up on themselves and their educations. With them, I gave a prize simply for reading even just one book. More prizes were given out for each row completed. You can also reward things like completing an X on the board (both diagonals) or completing the outer row all the way around the board. And of course, there has to be a really good prize for filling out the whole board!
Ideas for prizes:
Now, here’s the thing about the prizes. They don’t always have to cost money. Some kids are happy enough to receive a sticker for each book they read. For others, sure, you could give out small dollar store prizes.
For my daughter, prizes were usually in the form of fun activities. Crafting time with Mom, family game night with game of her choice, or control of the TV for an evening. Other prizes have included things like an afternoon of bowling or an evening at the drive-in movie theater.
Completing the whole card usually meant a visit to our favourite amusement park! Or how about letting them earn some extra screen time based on their reading? The possibilities are endless!
Make it a fun family summer activity!
Want to add a fun twist to summer reading bingo? Make it a family effort! Print out both cards and work together to complete them. This can be especially motivational for kids who are overwhelmed by the idea of completing the reading on their own. Not only that but it opens the possibilities of family reading themed activities.
Go on a picnic and have each person bring their current read. Choose a page or a paragraph (depending on how long the book is) and each person can read that part aloud to the rest of the family. It’s fun to see what others are reading.
Head to the library together to pick out new books. Share the books each of you have chosen with the others and explain why you chose them. This is not only fun but it gets kids thinking about their reading and promotes decision making skills.
Have some theme days. For example, everyone needs to choose a book somehow related to the beach. You could head to the beach to read the books. Or maybe you want to share some beach-themed treats or to make some beachy craft projects. You could even find a movie that fits your theme and have a movie night too!
Create some fun environments for family reading. Make a blanket fort in the living room and have everyone pile in for a rainy afternoon of reading books and munching popcorn. Set up a tent in the backyard and do some reading by flashlight one evening. Make a giant pile of pillows and blankets under your favorite tree. Enjoy the shade while sipping lemonade and reading on a hot summer day.
You can download our Summer Reading Bingo card by clicking on the PDF below.
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Or get the Tween/Teen Summer Reading Bingo card PDF below.
Note: You’ll have to decide on the rules for marking off a square as complete and for rewarding. Tween/Teen books are much longer than those of younger kids so obviously they may be unable to get through very many in one summer.
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Want some more fun summer Bingo games?
Looking for more summer fun ideas? Click on the image above to be taken to other posts in this series.