Worried about the “summer slide” happening to your kids?  If your kids are anything like mine, they forget things they knew pretty easily. To avoid this, our kids need lots of practice with skills they’ve learned during the school year. The main focus in our house this summer will be reading. My son is an emergent reader who knows plenty of sight words, but struggles with fluency.

Here are some easy ways to encourage summer reading in your home, while also having fun:

Nerf gun target practice  

Write (or have your kids write) sight words on index cards or sticky notes and tape them to the wall. Then, you can call out a word for them to hit with Nerf guns, or have them read the word they want to hit.


This one is great for increasing fluency because your brain and mouth have to move just as fast as your feet! Write sight words inside hopscotch squares for them to call out as they hop over them. This can also be done inside on rainy days! We put down painter’s tape on our carpet in the shape of a hopscotch course and kept it there for weeks!  

Join the summer reading program at the library

We’ve done PPLD’s Summer Adventure reading program for the last two years and have loved it! There are plenty of fun activities to complete and lots of prizes to work toward earning! Their program is for kids of all ages, from 0 to 18, and runs from June 1 to July 31.  

Water balloon target practice 

Same idea here as the Nerf gun target practice, except you write words on your driveway or sidewalk with chalk, and have your child hit each word you call out with a water balloon. Make sure your kids clean up the leftover balloon scraps! 

Bake a new (or old!) recipe

Have your kids read off ingredients and directions to make something yummy, whether it be a new Pinterest find, or an old, well-loved stand-by.  

Board games

Many board games require reading skills to play. Games we love that encourage reading include Scrabble, Boggle, Taboo, Codenames, and Headbanz. 

Scavenger hunt

Make a list of items to find on a scavenger hunt for your kids to read off. You can craft your list of items based on your location. You can make a list of nature items to find while on a hike, a list of things to find around the house and put away on a rainy day, a list of car colors to find while on a drive — the possibilities are endless!  

I hope this list has given you some ideas to help your kids maintain (or grow!) their reading abilities! Be on the lookout for a part 2 to this post, which will be about continuing math practice in fun ways during the summer!

summer reading