Reading Activities for Summer Learning Fun

Please welcome mom and literacy expert, Nadine Cruz-Saubert, with great reading activities ideas for summer learning.

Getting Kids Reading During the Summer

As a mother of 3 very different children, I wanted to come up with an inexpensive way extend our reading experiences this summer.  I didn’t want to just send my kids to their bedroom to read.  With the abundance of resources available on the web and the books I have collected throughout the years, I compiled a laundry list of activities we can do after reading experiences.

Reading Extension Activities

  • You have the opportunity to interview the author of your book. What will you ask? Share your questions and your reason for asking them.
  • I will draw a “squiggle” and you complete a picture in relation to your book. Share your “vision” in words on the back of the page.
  • Persuade an audience to read your book.
  • Re-create the cover of the book. Be sure to include the author and title.
  • This book will be made into a movie. Who will play the characters? Why did you choose them? Where will the filming take place?
  • Make a collage all about your book. Use any materials you’d like!
  • Draw a Venn diagram between 2 characters in the book.
  • Draw a Venn diagram between YOU and the main character.
  • What did you “learn” from the book? (can include factual information, something you learned about yourself, something you learned about life in general…. Etc.)
  • Pick out vocabulary words and character names’ to make a word search on the computer. (Be sure to discuss words first, check spelling…). Your puzzle will be taped in your journal.
  • Make a Book Jacket for your book. (design the cover, spine, inside flap will describe main characters, other flap will include main problem or setting, back page will contain the summary). If you need to, look at other book jackets for inspiration.
  • Make a timeline of the events that took place.
  • You can spend a day with a character of the book! Who, What, Where, Why??
  • Write yourself into the story! Explain.
  • Create a postcard that illustrates a setting of the book. Write a note to a friend on the back of your “postcard.”
  • Illustrate your favorite part of the story. Explain your illustration on the back.
  • If the book is non-fiction, explain why you chose this book. What sparked your interest about this topic? Would you like to read another book on this same topic? What else would you like to learn about this particular topic?
  • Create a “diary” for one of the characters in your book. Include at least 3 separate diary entries. The entries should include thoughts, feelings, and actions surrounding the events which took place in the book.
  • Make a 6-slide comic related to your book. Each frame should include a sentence or two. (think of a sheet of paper folded in half the long way and then into thirds). Each box is a comic frame.
  • Make a memory box. Include items that relate to the story. Give a brief description of each item that was included.
  • Create a mural. Use the entire page. Mural should include several scenes from the book.
  • Create an “alphabet book” complete with illustrations for each page. Basically turn your book into a “picture book.” If interested we can get the completed project laminated!
  • Reader’s Choice! What can YOU come up with to show me you comprehended your reading?

Reading Journals

I call them “reading experiences” because the journals have taken on a form of their own.  My 5 year-old’s journal consists of mostly illustrations relating to picture books we read together.  He writes the title on each page—not bad for a child that hasn’t started kindergarten yet.

Along with completing an activity every time they finish a book, the kids have asked to “do a journal” after we attend an event at a library event or after we do a family read-aloud. In doing this, the kids get to utilize and build different comprehension skills such as: interpretation, visualization, making inferences (drawing their own conclusions), and synthesizing (connecting newly learned info. to prior knowledge).

My next “vision” has to do with poetry.  I want to read poetry to them and have them illustrate their interpretation of it into their journals.  I am thinking of using Vile Verses by Roald Dahl  and the works of Shel Silverstein.

What ideas have worked with your children as far as extending the literacy experience?  How do you incorporate mixed-age children into your literacy activities at home?

Each child will have a 2012 Summer Reading Journal. After completing their readings, they will document their learning in their
journals using a variety of extension activities. Journals can also be used to document “read-alouds” as well as other reading experiences. In your writing, be aware of proper use of grammar and complete sentences.

FYI. You can do more than one activity for each book. For example, do a Venn diagram and a timeline on one page!

Picture Books: The Best Part

Pictures books lend themselves various reading extension activities for the older kids as well!  So far my favorite this summer has been reading the book The Best Part of Me by Wendy Ewald.

After we read the book together, we had a discussion on what each child considered to be “their best part.”  The next day we took pictures of their parts and they wrote why they chose that particular part about themselves.  Then we put it all together on a page. Each child had something different to share about themselves and it’s great for them to share something personal that they value about their bodies.  My 5 year-old is not writing sentences per say but he had a lot to share and I wrote his words verbatim for his page.

My name is Nadine Cruz-Saubert from DeKalb IL.  I have a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from Northern Illinois University with a personal, vested interest in all things Literacy.  I am currently a SAHM of 3 children ages 11, 9, and 5.  When we are not at the pool we spend our summer days involved in summer literacy activities.

To view any book at Amazon, please click on image of book or go to Barnes and Noble to purchase.

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. These are great, great great ideas! My daughter’s not going to know what hit her today when I sit her down to do ALL of these activities. On second thought, she’d probably never read a book again, so maybe I’ll just pick one or two for the day. Thanks for ideas for extending the book time.
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  2. Vanita

    Wow, thanks for the great ideas. The reading journal looks awesome and as for Roald Dahl and Shel Silverstein, the teens love them. I’ll try this with the toddlers.
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  3. dadblunders

    Some great tips! I love the memory box idea as it relates to the book. My son is only 3-years-old and I am going to try something like that for our next book (we are a Dr. Seuss kick currently) I would like to see how his imagination can come up with ideas that relate to the book.


    • Hi Dad Blunders,
      Love your bio on your blog by the way. I’m so glad that Nadine’s suggestions will be helpful for your son! We love Dr. Seuss too! The ebooks for Dr. Seuss are some of my absolute favorite iphone ebook apps!

  4. Ann

    Great ideas! I especially love the idea of a reading journal. What a great record of all your reading accomplishments!
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  5. Nadine

    Im glad to have a “podium” in which to share ideas with other like-minded parents! Now excuse Md as j bookmarks the above blogs.

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