Back to articles Summer Activities For Kids Who Hate To Read

Categories: Family Fun

So you've got a non-reader on your hands, and you want to ensure those print skills don't slip during the summer. What can you do to practise reading and writing in a fun way for a few months? Here are some ideas to try.

Books They Can't Resist
Find the most enticing books you can for your child at the local bookstore or library. How-to books that capitalize on a current interest such as star-gazing or jewellery-making are often good bets. Look for titles that provide the craft supplies right with the text (extremely handy and often cost-effective). Avoid selecting what interests you; select what your child finds interesting.

Don't forget the local science store, where they stock great titles on the yuck factor. True, the science of human gas may not be your thing, but it may be irresistible to your child. Hold your nose and get out your wallet: it's all reading and it's all good.

Visit a How-To Website Together

I'm amazed at the quality of how-to sites out there right now. Many provide step-by-step instructions on doing most everything from making your own standee to announcing that you're adopting, and they usually include instructive photos or video. Find an online activity your child would enjoy doing and encourage her to read the instructions with you.

Headline/News Article Generators

These websites allow kids to create their own headlines and write their own brief news stories. Hit a button and presto! Your child receives an authentic looking newspaper clipping with his own wacky headline, and a url to send to friends and family members.

This one simple activity combines writing, spelling, and e-mail skills and introduces your child to the basics of media literacy. And because the articles are short, this writing task is not too onerous. Challenge your child to come up with the most intriguing and effective headline possible!

Board Games

Lots of board games involve reading, so clear off the coffee table and have family game night once a week. You can ask one child to be the designated "card reader" when playing Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, CSI, or other popular board games.

Kitchen Science Activities

Many online science activities for kids can be done in your kitchen or livingroom, and most involve free downloadable instructions. Encourage your child to do some of these activities with friends--there's some nice reading involved. (Same goes for cooking.) NASA, for example, has a great downloadable on making your own 3-D glasses, complete with glasses template.

Food Literacy

Speaking of food, many family restaurants have extensive menus. Read the menu together and talk about the words and ingredients that are unfamiliar. Instead of having your usual meal, read the Appetizer section and order a bunch of new dishes with new names.

The World of Lists

What does your child want to do? Buy? Give away? Dare to dream about? Ask her to make a list over the summer and share it with you from time to time. Lists can be word-processed and decorated digitally or printed and decorated with foil papers, stickers, and decals.

Reading and writing are considered fundamental skills because you need these skills to do most everything else. By providing a variety of reading and writing activities this summer that keep your child in a high-interest zone, you can have fun and ensure those skills stay razor-sharp.


Jessica Pegis is an author and consultant specializing in learning resources kids. She is the mother of Simone, her sternest critic and loudest cheerleader. Sign up today for KidSmart, her FREE e-zine, by going to! Tips, games, and other fun (and brainy) stuff to do with kids.