Can you believe it? Another summer has nearly reached its end, meaning it’s time for your young ones to get back in “school mode.” Early wake-ups, regular homework… it can be an uphill battle to transition from family vacations back to the grind. One way to make that process as painless as possible is to reintroduce your children to the wonders of reading. After all, they will be required to read in most of their classes, so getting them excited to do so as summer break winds down will get them in a better mindset for the next school year.

Whether your child is in elementary school or middle school, an exceptional reader or still working on key skills, we have a few ways to motivate him or her to crack open a book. Give some of them a try this month:

  1. Start off easy with some audio books: Your youngins probably already have a list of favorite books they’ve read in the past. So pick up an audio version for them to listen to during end-of-summer road trips, reminding them of just how much they love their favorite tales! If you’re feeling extra ambitious, have them read along during the ride and ask them questions between chapters to show you’re interested too. Plus, engaging in audio books in this way will deepen their reading comprehension, building their skills for the challenges ahead at school. Explore the epic! and Audible libraries to get started.
  2. Hop on FaceTime: If your kid is tech-savvy and prefers to read with an adult, hop on video chat with a friend or family member! The thrill of having a new voice and face while reading will make it seem like a new experience, motivating them to keep it up even after ending the call. Should the chosen book focus on a certain topic like science or history, consider dialing a subject-matter expert, so that they can provide their own stories and points of view to move beyond the text and give it depth.
  3. Start a blog: The Carnegie Corporation of New York published a detailed study demonstrating how significantly writing improves reading—and the will to do so. The most important element? When kids write, the power is with them to choose the topic, length and style, making the process something tailored to them that they can enjoy. Have your kids start their own (private) blog, and then read their work back. This allows them to catch their own mistakes, see how a story comes together, and deepen their appreciation for reading as a whole. Asking them to start with recapping their summer is an excellent way to prepare for the Fall.


If you’re having trouble keeping your child’s attention, PBS Kids has a treasure trove of interactive games to try, including building your own comic!