• Skip to primary navigation
  • Skip to main content
  • Skip to primary sidebar

Teaching Expertise

  • Classroom Ideas
  • Teacher’s Life
  • Deals & Shopping
  • Privacy Policy

30 Activities to Keep Your Elementary Schooler Reading Throughout the Summer

November 6, 2022 //  by  Josilyn Markel

For young readers, Summer can go one of two ways: Either they can improve their reading abilities and be prepared for the next grade level, or they can regress and fall behind. In order to make sure that your elementary school students keep up with their reading throughout the Summer, it’s important to offer plenty of engaging activities for them to enjoy all Summer long. Here are thirty of the best Summer reading activities that can help your child stay sharp throughout the Summer vacation!

1. Summer Reading Bingo

This is a great activity that allows kids to bring a sense of novelty and fun to all of their Summer reading adventures. It offers your child activities that are versatile and exciting for a wide range of ages; great for kids who are reading chapter books or even for young readers who still prefer picture books.

Learn More: Books For Topics

2. Reading Bucket List

This is a fun list that brings together a lot of different elements of reading and presents them in an easy-to-follow manner. It includes some fun Summer titles and excellent books for children of all ages. These books and activities can help them grow both as readers and as little humans!

Learn More: Learning Through Literature

3. Summer Reading Calendar

You shouldn’t go into the Summer without having this calendar displayed prominently in your home! It’s the perfect decorative addition to your Summer holiday and a great way to keep the goal of Summer reading at the forefront of your family’s mind. Simply print the calendar and follow along throughout the hot Summer months.

Learn More: Chuck E-Cheese

4. Family Dinner Book Club

There is real value in reading books and discussing them together as a family. This pack of activities and conversation starters is geared towards promoting family reading and discussions over the dinner table. It’s a holistic way to include the whole family in the children’s Summer reading goals and growth.

Learn More: Growing Book By Book

5. Reading in Different Places

If your kids are tired of staying inside to do their Summer reading assignments, then it is time to change up the reading location! There are so many different places to read about and read in. This list provides inspiration for more adventurous readers who aren’t afraid to get a little messy while looking for the perfect reading spot.

Learn More: The Measured Mom

6. Ice Cream and Literacy

With these fun ice cream cone crafts, you can help your kids practice reading comprehension throughout the holiday. After all, Summertime is the perfect season for ice cream, and it just makes sense to combine two of the best Summer activities! 

Learn More: Twinkl

7. Library Scavenger Hunt

Whether you’re a family that loves to spend a lot of time at the local library or you’re just getting interested in the library, this scavenger hunt is for you! It’s a great way to get kids excited about choosing books to read for the Summer, and it’s the perfect tool for getting them acquainted with all of the cool resources that are available at their local library.

Learn More: 123 Homeschool 4 Me

8. Keep a Book Log

One of the easiest ways to track Summer reading progress is to simply keep a reading log. The reading log shows what your child is reading, how much they’re reading, and what they’re learning along the way. It’s awesome to look back on all their progress at the end of the holiday and inspire them for the next one!

Learn More: Simple As That Blog

9. Special Summer Reading Currency

If your child needs a bit more motivation to read throughout the Summer, then play money could be a great tool. You can use these “book bucks” to help your kids see the value of reading. Just make sure that you have some special prizes on hand too!

Learn More: Amazon

10. Roll & Read Game

This game leaves all of the Summer reading fun up to chance! Based on the roll of a die, your kids will be prompted to complete different activities. They’ll be faced with a variety of challenges that will keep things interesting throughout the whole Summer.

Learn More: Planning Playtime

11. Give Books as Gifts

One of the best ways to encourage reading throughout the Summer is to make sure that kids have interesting books on hand. Here’s a list of stimulating and encouraging children’s books that make great gifts. Plus the gift of reading and learning is the best thing you can give to a child!

Learn More: NY Mag

12. Reading Challenge Bookmarks

These little bookmarks are packed with big Summer reading challenge activities. Plus, since they’re always inside the book, they’re easy to have on hand. Kids won’t forget the challenges and they’ll be motivated to work consistently towards their Summer reading goals.

13. Schedule a Reading “Date”

If you’re a teacher who wants to keep your students interested in reading throughout the entire holiday, you can arrange book dates with your students. Simply invite them and their family to the classroom, local library, or bookshop to spend some time reading together. This will encourage the whole family to read throughout the summer break.

Learn More: Reader Pants

14. Reading Comprehension Cootie Catcher

This is a special twist on the classic cootie catcher game. Here, you can print and follow the instructions to make a tool for getting kids interested in Summer reading and related comprehension practice. It’s great for tactile learners too.

Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers

15. Family Read Aloud Time

Nothing beats reading books aloud with the family. Study after study has shown the importance and benefits of reading aloud with kids and offering them a safe space to practice their reading skills. If you don’t do it already, it’s time to start reading aloud as a family every single day!

Learn More: NCYI.org

16. Reading Photo Frame Challenge

With this activity, you can encourage kids to look back on all that they have read and learned about over the Summer. It’s a great way to incorporate arts and crafts into the reading adventure. 

Learn More: Pinterest

17. Summer Reading Journal

This is a printable reading journal that is specially designed for elementary school students. It brings together some prompts and encouraging messages that will help kids start a great reading habit over the Summer. Plus, they’ll be able to keep up the habit throughout the whole year.

18. Write Your Own Book

A great way to encourage students to get into reading is to entice them with a book of their own. Kids love to make up stories, and you can leverage this love of creativity!  

Learn More: Student Treasures

19. Level-Appropriate Book Reports

Book reports are a key part of research and academic life, and it’s never too early to get your children reading and analyzing literature critically. Book reports are a great way to get children to reflect on what they’re reading and understand the meaning in a broader context.

Learn More: Study.com

20. 20 Questions 

If you’re at a loss for what to discuss about books, here’s a handy list of 20 questions that can get the conversation started. You can also use these questions as a game to guess and learn more about what your kids are reading during the Summer months.

Learn More: RM Archer

21. Destination Reading

If traveling is part of your Summer plans, then reading is a great way to get your kids excited about upcoming trips. Find books about the places you want to see during the Summer, and invite your kids to read up on the cool places that they’ll visit.

Learn More: Kindred Media

22. Press Wildflowers in a Heavy Book

This one is not about reading per se, but it does involve some big, heavy books. Have your kids collect wildflowers at the beginning of the Summer, and press them in a heavy book between parchment paper. Then, enjoy your dried flowers throughout the cooler months.

Learn More: First Day Of Home

23. Phonics and Word Family Exercises

These are easy and effective activities to help your child remember phonics and basic reading skills when they’re not at school during the Summer. The printable activities are great for families who want to support their kids outside the classroom.

Learn More: Proud To Be Primary

24. Scholastic Online Reading Challenge

This is a worldwide reading challenge that encourages kids to keep reading throughout the Summer. It connects kids from all over the world and their lots of perks and prizes that students can earn throughout their holiday.

Learn More: Scholastic

25. Map Your Summer Reading

What places are your kids reading about? Get a map, some pins, and some craft supplies, and make a record of all the cool places that they’re visiting in the pages of their favorite Summer books. This is also a fun decor idea for a kid’s bedroom or a classroom.

Learn More: KC Edventures

26. Printable Summer Reading Activity Packs

This has got to be one of the easiest Summer reading activities since you simply have to print it out and it’s ready to go! This packet is full of reading comprehension and reflection activities that are perfect for elementary students.

Learn More: 3 Dinosaurs

27. Books-A-Million Summer Reading Program

The popular booksellers have a great Summer reading program that brings together motivation and excitement for young readers. They also have prizes and activities for students of all ages and stages, including live events in many locations around the country.

Learn More: Books A Million

28. Reading Fun in the Sun

This is the first of several units that feature reading comprehension activities. The units cover lots of different fun topics, and you can space out the activities throughout the whole Summer. Remember to check out all of the units on the website!

29. Phonics Throughout the Summer

These activities are geared toward students who will be away from the classroom throughout the Summer. It’s a great way to keep kids focused and fresh through the holidays so that they don’t struggle when they return to school in the Fall.

Learn More: Royal Baloo

30. Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Journal

This is a printable journal to help your children keep track of and reflect on all of the great books that they read through the Summer months. It’s perfect for keeping up with your kids, and it offers great conversation starters, too!

Learn More: Barnes And Nobles

Monica Burns

Monica Burns

5 summer reading activities for elementary students.

How are you supporting student readers this summer? If you’re searching for summer reading activities for elementary students, I have you covered! Today on the blog, we’ll take a look at a collection of resources you can use this summer and share with families. 

The summertime offers opportunities and challenges for students and families. There are opportunities to engage in a variety of activities that support literacy, but it can be a challenge to know where to start. The team at Capstone has pulled together a fantastic set of resources for this time of year. It includes guided activities, holiday calendars, and more!

Summer Reading Activities for Elementary Students

If you haven’t heard of Capstone , they offer students and teachers access to high-quality reading materials. Elementary students can conduct research, explore social studies and science topics, and access text with audio support. I love how easy it is for teachers to locate and share articles with students to support their curiosity about hundreds of topics. This page gives you more information about all things PebbleGo .


  • 6 Tips for Using Short Reading Passages
  • 7 Ways to Inject Math in Reading Classrooms
  • How to Increase Informational Text Access in Your District

Today on the blog, I want to spotlight their summer reading activities for elementary students. They have a special landing page with summer-themed resources you don’t want to miss!

Letter to Families

First up is a ready-to-use letter to send home to families. With this letter template , you can add all the information families need to connect to PebbleGo in the summertime. This is perfect for student readers who have access to an Internet-enabled device over the summer. You can send this letter home with students or use it as a template for an email you send out to families.

Customizable Bookmarks

Instead of, or in addition to, sending a letter home to families, you can use the customizable bookmarks from PebbleGo. These PDF files are perfect for you to use right away, and there are English and Spanish versions. You can download the PDF files , print them out, and write students’ usernames and passwords so families can easily access the information. 

You might decide to print the bookmarks on cardstock or laminate them before sharing them with students. If you are reading this and students are already home from school for the summer, sending a bookmark to them in the mail is a fun option.

Guided Activities

The downloadable summer reading activities for elementary students give you (and families) supporting resources. You might use these as part of a summer program or share them with families to guide them on bringing reading activities into their summer schedule. There are lots to choose from, including a few new options like “Inventors and Their Inventions.”

Guided Activity pdf Screenshot

Summer Calendars

One great way to inspire student readers is to connect them with timely resources. The team at Capstone has created calendars for May, June, July, and August with summer reading activities for elementary students. You can learn about different holidays and see the article corresponding to the date. For example, July 14th is Shark Awareness Day, and you can check out an article in PebbleGo about Sharks. 

August Holiday Calendar Screenshot

This page has the links to the summer calendars , but here are a few dates (and passages) you won’t want to miss:

  • July 20th – Space Exploration Day (Article: Exploring Space)
  • July 29th – National Rain Day (Article: Rain)
  • August 1st – World Wide Web Day (Article: What Is The Internet)
  • August 10th – World Lion Day (Article: Lions)

Summer Reading Log

If you want to have children keep track of their reading accomplishments this summer, you might want to try the summer reading log from the team at Capstone. This is a PDF you can download, print and share with families. If you only share virtual resources with families during the summertime, you can share a link to the PDF for them to print and use or open up in a tool that lets them annotate PDFs.

 My favorite part of the reading log is how students can rate each article they have read. This can provide teachers and families with information they can use to recommend new reading materials in the future.

Supporting Student Readers

Ready to jump into these summer reading activities for elementary students? Make sure to head to this special summer resources page from PebbleGo . It will give you instant access to all of the resources I mentioned above. You can decide what to share with families this summer or use in summer programming with students.

summer reading project

All Formats

Resource types, all resource types, summer reading project.

  • Rating Count
  • Price (Ascending)
  • Price (Descending)
  • Most Recent

summer reading projects for elementary students

Summer Reading Creative Novel Project for Any Novel or Story Character Head

summer reading projects for elementary students

Beach Day Activities Reading Ocean Animal Research Project Summer

summer reading projects for elementary students

Summer Reading Project - File Folder Book Report - Any Book!

summer reading projects for elementary students

Summer Reading Project - Any Book - Creating a Newspaper

summer reading projects for elementary students

Summer Reading Challenge - Reading Logs and Calendar - Activities - Projects

summer reading projects for elementary students

Summer Reading Pennant Project for any Novel or Story

summer reading projects for elementary students

Summer Road Trip -- A Reading & Math Research Project

summer reading projects for elementary students

Summer Reading and Enrichment Projects

summer reading projects for elementary students

Summer Reading Book Project Choices with Rubric (Ind. Reading Assessment)

summer reading projects for elementary students

The Hunger Games Summer Reading Assignment Discussion Questions and Project

summer reading projects for elementary students

  • Google Apps™

summer reading projects for elementary students

9th Grade English ELA Summer Reading Project Options – Novels, Prompts, Rubrics

summer reading projects for elementary students

  • Word Document File

summer reading projects for elementary students

Wonder by R.J. Palacio Summer Reading Assignment Questions and a Project

summer reading projects for elementary students

The Giver by Lois Lowry Summer Reading Assignment Questions and Project

summer reading projects for elementary students

Independent Reading Project / Summer Homework Project

summer reading projects for elementary students

Multi-Media AP Language Summer Reading Project

summer reading projects for elementary students

  • Google Docs™

summer reading projects for elementary students

10th Grade English ELA Summer Reading Project Options – Novels, Prompts, Rubrics

summer reading projects for elementary students

Summer Reading Interactive Slide Project - Includes Grading Rubric

summer reading projects for elementary students

  • Internet Activities

summer reading projects for elementary students

Summer Reading Book Talk Project - End of Year Activity

summer reading projects for elementary students

AP English Language & Composition Summer Reading Project Options and Rubrics

summer reading projects for elementary students

Summer Reading Project

summer reading projects for elementary students

Summer Reading Project (Modifiable)

summer reading projects for elementary students

Independent Reading Project for Summer or Any Time: Distance Learning Compatible

summer reading projects for elementary students

Summer | Shared Reading Poem | Project & Trace

summer reading projects for elementary students

Digital Summer Reading Project

summer reading projects for elementary students

  • We're hiring
  • Help & FAQ
  • Privacy policy
  • Student privacy
  • Terms of service
  • Tell us what you think

Learn Bright

Fun Summer Reading Activities for Kids

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. 

The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  

– Dr Suess

The above quote from Dr. Seuss perfectly encapsulates the benefits of falling in love with reading. After all, reading can help children of all ages develop academically and socially while encouraging them to be more expressive and creative. This is because, with every turn of the page, they learn more about the world around them – and also themselves! 

However, whether they go to public school or are homeschooled, it’s harder to encourage them to read consistently during the summer. After all, they may not want to bury their noses in a book when they could be running around the park or jumping into the pool instead.

With that in mind, here are some fun reading activities that will inspire your children and encourage them to become lifelong readers  – even during the summertime. 

Host your own book club

family reading in the summer

Hosting your own family book club is a great way to get your children excited about reading. Have each of your kids find books that are of interest to them and compile a list of books to read. Each child takes a turn being the host for the book that they selected. Aim to read one new children’s book or chapter book each week.

Don’t forget to keep a reading log so you can see how many books you read together.

Be sure to ask each other plenty of thought-provoking questions about what you’ve read afterward. Doing so boosts reading skills and improves kids comprehension skills.

Some good examples are: 

  • Which character is your favorite in this book, and why?
  • Which character(s) did you dislike, and why?
  • Which chapter is your favorite? 
  • What techniques does the author use to tell the story? 
  • What did you think about the ending of the book? If it was your story, would you change the ending at all? 

Join your local library

Turn the library into a fun family outing. Most libraries offer reading programs with activities and rewards to promote summer reading fun.

Furthermore, libraries are free! You do not need to buy a new book every few weeks in order to prevent the summer slide.

If you have younger children, you may want to sign them up for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library . This is a charitable organization that “mails free, high-quality books to children from birth to age five, no matter their family’s income.” 

Learn more about their favorite authors

Learning more about their favorite authors is another fun way to encourage your child to fall in love with reading.

For example, show kids this video about Dr. Suess. After learning that Green Eggs and Ham only contains 50 words – they may want to go through and count them themselves.

Go on a day out – with a book! 

Many children automatically associate reading with being trapped indoors – often in a classroom – which can make them feel less than excited about reading in their free time. However, by showing them that they can read everywhere and anywhere, you can once again make it more fun for them.

For example, when heading to the park for a picnic or to the beach to soak up some sun – be sure to bring a few books along with you that you can read together during the day. This way, they can enjoy a bit of downtime on an otherwise action-packed day. 

Put together a book bingo

Children love activities that challenge them! Putting together a bingo sheet with different story themes and ideas can encourage them to become more interested in reading.

For example, you could include things such as: 

  • Read a book by a new author .
  • Read a non-fiction or educational book. 
  • Read a book outdoors .
  • Read a book where the main character has magical powers .
  • Read a book with more than five chapters .
  • Read a book in one day .
  • Read a book set in a fairytale world.
  • Read a book that has inspired a movie . 
  • Read a book that features music or instruments . 
  • Read a book that teaches you something new .
  • Read a book by an author from a different country . 

Write new endings to your favorite stories

The more we read, the better we also get at writing. As such, another fun reading challenge is to re-write the endings to your favorite stories.

This is a great way to help your child showcase their imagination. Don’t forget to be silly and have fun!

Play dress up while reading

summer reading projects for elementary students

Finding new ways to capture your child’s attention or to get them excited about reading is always important. Playing dress up – i.e., dressing as their favorite characters can be a great way to achieve this goal.

You can also encourage your child to use different voices for different characters so they are truly stepping into their shoes. It helps them feel more immersed in the story, as though they are a part of the action.

Read different kinds of books 

We all have a favorite genre or author that we return to time and time again. Make a goal to discover something new. There’s an entire world of new stories out there to explore.

For example, you could choose a different theme for each week of the summer. This could include themes such as: 

  • Read about a historical figure or a critical moment in history. 
  • Read a book about nurturing your mental health .
  • Read a fantasy book .
  • Read a book about science .
  • Read a book by a local author. 
  • Read a book about animals . 

Keep an eye out for reading events

There are many different kinds of reading events hosted throughout the summer that you should keep an eye out for. Once again, they provide you with the chance to bring books to life in new and exciting ways. This could include: 

  • Reading fairs 
  • Live readings of books 
  • Film screenings (based on books)
  • Theatre shows (based on books)
  • Author Q&As. 

Final Thoughts

In short, there are many ways in which you can inspire a love of reading within your child. For more summer reading tips and ideas check out our free lesson plans and videos !

summer reading projects for elementary students

Previous Post Fun Summer Math Activities for Kids

Next post juneteenth for kids: a brief guide to the end of slavery, related posts.

Teaching Organizational Skills Blog Cover

Winter Holidays Around the World

Writing Narratives Blog Cover

  • Lesson Plans
  • For Teachers

© 2023 Learn Bright. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions. Privacy Policy.

  • Sign Up for Free

Choose your language

  • English (US)
  • English (UK)

summer reading projects for elementary students

15 summer reading activities to keep kids’ brains switched on

Did you know kids can forget up to three months of classroom learning over the school holidays? It’s known as ‘summer slide’ (a lot less fun than a real slide), summer learning loss, or ‘summer brain drain’ (ewww).

But wait – did you also know personalized books have a profoundly positive effect on children’s literacy skills? Hurrah!

As part of our Summer of Reading campaign, here are our top tips for keeping your kids’ imaginations and reading skills buzzing over the summer months. Including fun reading activities, best children’s book festivals, kids’ podcasts and more – so you can turn summer reading from a challenge, into a triumph!

1. Read cereal boxes at breakfast

Or yoghurt pots. Or milk cartons. Or newspaper comic strips. Anything you’ve got to hand!

2. Listen to audiobooks in the car

Long car journeys planned? There are some fabulous children’s audiobooks available to keep them (and you!) entertained for hours. Right now we’re loving Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson, How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell and narrated by David Tennant, and Julia Donaldson’s A Treasury of Songs

3. Make a holiday guidebook

Check out our fun holiday activity The Tiny Traveller’s Vacation Guidebook , where little ones get to review their trip!

4. Read a bedtime story together at night

Bedtime stories are a great cozy ritual. But they’re also important to boost your little one’s vocabulary, mastery of language, and logic skills.

5. Ask interesting questions at dinnertime

Get a bit more creative than ‘How was your day?’. Try asking ‘What made you giggle today?’, ‘Who was kind to you?’, ‘What did you learn that you didn’t know yesterday?’ or any of these questions here.

6. Write a story

Check out our blog 6 ways to kickstart kids’ creative writing for some handy writing prompts to get your child’s creative juices flowing.

7. Visit your local library

When was the last time you visited your neighborhood library? Most of them run a fantastic program of family events over the summer holidays. So get on down there!

8. Try our reading game

Transform reading together as a family with our fun-filled downloadable activity:  The Really Whacky Read-O-Meter . Giggles and grins guaranteed!

9. Listen to kids’ podcasts

Podcasts ain’t just for grown-ups! Some of our favorites include Wow in the World , Story Pirates , Circle Round and Tumble Science Podcast .

10. Learn a new word every day

Stick a word on the fridge in the morning. Award points for using it throughout the day. See if they can remember it by dinnertime! For inspiration, check out The Lost Words by Robert McFarlane.

11. Sign up to a summer reading challenge

How many books can your children race through over the holidays? The theme of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge is Space Race. Sign up now to start logging their progress!

12. Find them a penpal to write to

Like this curious tarantula called Webster, who would love to find a human child to write to…

13. Make a cosy reading den

A crafty activity that’ll encourage kids to read and stop them getting (card)bored! Find out how to make it here .

14. Download a reading app onto their tablet

Sometimes you can’t avoid kids being on their devices. But how about making the most of their screen time and downloading a fun reading app? We’re loving Pirate Phonics at the moment.

15. Put them into their own personalised story!

We already think our personalised books are pretty awesome. But research from the National Literacy Trust confirms that personalised children’s books motivate kids to read more, and can put them three years ahead in their reading age by the time they turn 14. Fantastic!

Tanya G Marshall-The Butterfly Teacher-transforming learning for all students

Literacy Centers

summer reading projects for elementary students

ELA / Reading

summer reading projects for elementary students

Math & Technology

summer reading projects for elementary students

Classroom Management

summer reading projects for elementary students

Teacher Tips

summer reading projects for elementary students

Holidays & Seasonal

Home » Blog Posts » ELA » Fun Summer Reading Activities for Kids

Fun Summer Reading Activities for Kids

  • ELA , Holidays & Seasonal

With summer comes fun, play time, and sleeping in late. Unfortunately, it also means potential reading loss for kids. This post shares fun summer reading activities for kids in upper elementary grades . These engaging ideas are easy to use and help kids prepare to re-enter school in the fall stronger.

PLUS–you can grab some FREE summer reading challenges for kids!

summer reading projects for elementary students

This post may contain affiliate links to Amazon and other companies. These links are provided for your convenience. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, which do not cost any extra for you. Please see the  full disclosure here .

What is the Summer Slide?

His cheeks were so red and he could barely maintain eye contact with me.

When I walked over to ask him what happened, he sheepishly whispered, “I can’t read this.”

This was during the first week of school several years ago with a former 4th grade student. He already struggled with reading throughout 3rd grade, but became even more behind during the summer.

Why? Because of the dreaded summer slide.

Scholastic reports that 3rd through 5th grade students lose up to 20% of the reading skills they gained during the school year when they don’t read during the summer.

And this was pre-pandemic.

Kids, especially now, need engaging summer reading activities. And we have them for you here.

Summer Reading Challenges for Kids

By far my favorite fun way to keep kids engaged with reading is to use reading challenges.

Years ago, I ditched using reading logs in favor of challenges .

My students are way more motivated to complete a reading challenge than a chart or reading log that only lists what books they’ve read.

And you know how I keep kids from losing the challenge lists? Put them on bookmarks!

Having the challenges on bookmarks cuts down on students losing them because they are using the bookmark while they’re reading.

summer reading projects for elementary students

Here’s how I use Reading Bookmark Challenges instead of Reading Logs:

  • Each week my students get a bookmark from me with five reading ideas on it. When they complete a reading assignment,  aka challenge , they color that space on their bookmark.
  • For our 9-week grading period, this gives students 35 different reading ideas/challenges.
  • I give reading awards during 3, 6, and 9 week intervals as a way to further motivate them to complete all the reading assignments/challenges.
  • Some of these challenges can be completed at home and some can be completed at school. That allows flexibility for students.

I change the challenges depending on the season or activities happening in our class. This is what allows them to work so well during the summer.

Students get these from me the last week of school and if they bring them back to me during the following school year, I give them a prize!

If this seems like too much for you, ask your school’s librarian to help you manage the details.

There’s enough variety with each bookmark challenge that students don’t get bored keeping up with reading throughout the school year.

Interesting Nonfiction Passages and Magazines

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “How do I motivate my child to read during the summer?” then I strongly recommend using high-interest nonfiction texts themed for the summer.

Upper elementary kids love learning new random facts! Use this to your advantage by offering them magazines with really fun topics.

Most children’s magazines also offer games and activities aligned to the articles and stories kids read.

Any nonfiction passage you pick must be something big kids like to read. Having a variety of summer-related topics really helps if you don’t know what your kiddo likes to read.

Of course, you can always ask them what they like!

The quick-reads I enjoy using challenge students to color-code their answers, which forces them to refer back to the text.

This is such an important reading skill that kids don’t need to lose over the summer! You can see more details about these passages:

  • May and June Passages
  • July and August Passages

How Do I Find Affordable Books and Magazines for Students?

If you’re looking for cheap ways to stock your classroom library , then check out the post linked in this sentence.

But when it comes to finding books or magazines to use as summer reading activities, I recommend Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited .

Amazon Kindle Unlimited--The Butterfly Teacher

This is a digital reading program, but you don’t have to have a Kindle reader to use it. You can download the free Kindle reading app on any device.

I’ve used it for years as a teacher and parent. I pay a flat fee every month of $9.99 with access to thousands of books and magazines.

There’s no additional costs to have up to 3 magazine subscriptions + up to 10 books in your “queue” at the same time.

The variety they offer to upper elementary students’ reading tastes is really good too.

You can try it here FREE for 30 days if you’d like.

EPIC or Vooks Animated E-Books

Speaking of digital reading, another option for fun summer reading activities for upper elementary kids relates to the apps EPIC and Vooks.

Both have a huge assortment of books just for kids. Even more than Kindle Unlimited, which offers adult reading material also by the way.

Vooks takes their digital reading to the next level with videos acting out the reading.

And they are awesome!

It’s an ad-free library of animated story books that turn read-alouds into video content. That’s where the name comes from: video + books= Vooks.

summer reading projects for elementary students

I especially like how the words to the story show up on the screen with the animations.

They even include lesson plans that can be helpful in saving time.

To me, there’s more content for elementary teachers rather than middle or high school.

This means you have lots of fun summer reading books for your 3rd through 5th graders.

So, if you want to spice up your virtual reading,  you can get 30 Days FREE here.   (affiliate link)

Public Library Reading Programs

In addition to the ideas above, you can make reading fun by participating in your local library’s public reading programs.

Of course the nitty gritty details of this depend on your library’s children’s department.

For instance, at my local library every summer they have summer reading activities for kids like:

  • Author visits where kids meet children’s book authors
  • Re-enactments or reader’s theater for certain stories
  • “Read and Play Dates” where parents bring kids to partner read together

summer reading projects for elementary students

These are just a few options available; your local library may have more or less.

Even if they don’t have lots of options, ask your librarian for book recommendations or ideas on what your students can read during the summer.

You can also grab some ideas for different chapter books HERE .

Vocabulary & ELA Practice for Upper Elementary

Even though this post focuses on reading, many kids will also need general vocabulary practice this summer. Vocabulary and word-building is directly connected to reading success and interest.

If your kids struggle with reading, their interest in summer reading will naturally be low. Maybe your students need tutoring, but their families can’t afford that.

Then I recommend giving students the type of affordable, yet effective vocabulary and ELA workbook practice that will help them improve.

summer reading projects for elementary students

I wrote a book specifically for upper elementary kids who need simple and on-going vocabulary practice to strengthen their reading skills.

The exercises in this book are standards-aligned and rigorous, but also interesting enough to keep students engaged.

Not only that, but these exercises come with lesson examples and allow kids to complete each one independently.

Adding this to your list of summer reading activities will keep kids from losing ground due to the dreaded summer slide.

Summer Enrichment Learning Around the House

Last, but not least, you can make summer reading interesting with learning activities around the house .

Learning takes place in the everyday scenarios of life:

  • Reading a recipe book to help cook
  • Watching a movie that’s based on a children’s book, then reading the book to compare the two (maybe you want to do this in the reserve order!)
  • Writing letters or journal entries
  • Painting a picture, then writing a caption for it
  • Enjoying a bedtime story together
  • Reading newspapers and magazines
  • Build a pillow or sheet fort in the house, grab some flashlights and have a “Living Room Reading Camp!”

summer reading projects for elementary students

I could go on and on with this list, but the point is to make teachable moments from your normal routine. These can really keep the learning going as you enjoy your summer days with kids.

Plus, these summer lesson activities require no additional prep work from adults. Just print and go!

For more ways to keep your kiddos engaged during the summer, check out the eight ideas mentioned in this post:


Answers to Common Questions about Reading Outside of School

Even with the ideas mentioned above, you may want to know more.

Whether you’re a teacher, homeschooling parent, or a parent who just wants to make sure your child doesn’t fall behind, here are answers to your most common questions:

  • How can I make summer reading fun? Start with the summer reading challenges offered for free. Allow your kids to choose books with topics they enjoy.
  • What are some fun ways to teach a child to read? Hands-on learning activities are my favorite for beginning readers. Check out the phonics and reading comprehension games that I recommend for 2nd grade readers here .
  • How can I help my child with reading when I work full-time? Doing everything alone burns you out! If you are a full-time working parent, use engaging activities that kids can do independently or ask someone you trust with help.
  • Is it ok for my kid to read e-books or should we only use printed books? The debate swirling around learning on devices is still pretty high. To e-book or not to e-book; the short answer: it depends on your kids’ ages and reading strengths. If you want the longer, research-based answer, we have it for you here in this post .
  • My kid loves math, but hates reading. What should I do? Connect their love of math with reading by giving them these math read-alouds to enjoy this summer!

Free Summer Reading Activities for Upper Elementary

Kick off your kids’ reading with these FREE summer reading challenges!

Teachers can give these to students during the last days of school. Parents can keep them going throughout the summer.

Either way, they make summer reading fun!

What other ideas do you want to try from this post? Let us know in the comment below.

The Butterfly Teacher

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

Bundle deals for the classroom

Find me on Instagram @tanyagmarshall

summer reading projects for elementary students


  1. Summer Reading Project

    summer reading projects for elementary students

  2. 19 Free Summer Reading Programs for Kids

    summer reading projects for elementary students

  3. Summer Themed Resource Round-Up

    summer reading projects for elementary students

  4. Reading Comprehension NO PREP Crafts SUMMER BUNDLE

    summer reading projects for elementary students

  5. Summer Reading Challenge

    summer reading projects for elementary students

  6. Brain Waves Instruction: Round Up of My Favorite End of the Year Lessons & Activities

    summer reading projects for elementary students


  1. Ready, Set, Read! Summer Reading Challenge 2023

  2. Summer Reading: How reading year-round can benefit your kids

  3. My Summer Reading Plans!

  4. Children's Summer Reading Program


  1. What Are the Duties of an Elementary School Student Council?

    The duties of an elementary school student council include organizing events, programs and projects, encouraging democratic participation and striving to promote good citizenship by example.

  2. 10 Fun Elementary School Classroom Decorations

    An elementary school classroom that is decorated with fun colors and themes can help create an exciting learning atmosphere for children of all ages. Here are 10 fun elementary school classroom decorations that can help engage young student...

  3. What Are Some Good Elementary School Treasurer Speeches?

    Good elementary school treasurer speeches include information about the student’s character such as a sense of responsibility, loyalty to the students and ethics regarding the spending of money.

  4. 30 Activities to Keep Your Elementary Schooler Reading

    1. Summer Reading Bingo · 2. Reading Bucket List · 3. Summer Reading Calendar · 4. Family Dinner Book Club · 5. Reading in Different Places · 6. Ice

  5. 280 Best Summer Reading Ideas in 2023

    Summer Reading Ideas ; Would You Like a Summer of Fun and Learning for Your Kids? · Summer Reading Activities · Summer Reading Program ; Books About Bikes

  6. 10 Weeks of Summer Reading Adventures for You and Your Kids

    Week 1: Celebrate summer · Write a list of things you want to do this summer. · Make a chart to keep track of all the books you read this summer. · Write down on

  7. 21 Summer Reading Project Ideas

    Mint Tin Book Report • Teacher Thrive · Word Painting · The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Map of Huckleberry Finn · Great way to display books in a kids room.

  8. 5 Summer Reading Activities for Elementary Students

    Summer Reading Activities for Elementary Students · I'VE SHARED A FEW POSTS THIS YEAR FEATURING PEBBLEGO, INCLUDING THESE THREE: · Letter to

  9. Summer reading project

    Summer Reading Pennant Project for any Novel or Story. Created by. Neu Teaching Products ... Elementary. This is a creative and fun summer

  10. Fun Summer Reading Activities for Kids

    Fun Summer Reading Activities for Kids · Host your own book club · Join your local library · Learn more about their favorite authors · More

  11. 15 summer reading activities to keep kids' brains switched on

    15 summer reading activities to keep kids' brains switched on · 1. Read cereal boxes at breakfast. Or yoghurt pots. · 2. Listen to audiobooks in the car · 3.

  12. 20+ Engaging Summer Reading Ideas

    Summer Reading Ideas. Let's start with reading projects, camps, and series to keep the kids busy learning and growing. 1. BOOK-BASED SUMMER

  13. Fun Summer Reading Activities for Kids

    Summer Enrichment Learning Around the House · Reading a recipe book to help cook · Watching a movie that's based on a children's book, then reading the book to

  14. Summer Reading Activities

    Summer Reading Activities · 1. READING BINGO – Color each square as you complete a reading · 2. ROLL AND READ – What fun way are you going to read today? · 3.