Read Up logoThis summer Read Up Coordinators have been working hard to keep kids reading with read-alouds, book-based crafts, team-based word games and movement activities. Here are some resources that you can use to keep your child reading at home.

Ten Tips for Keeping Your Kids Reading This Summer

Read aloud with your child

This summer make it a tradition to read out loud as a family to your kids. Even middle and high school students enjoy being read to.  Here is a video that talks about how you can help your child get more out of reading together time.

Read More Together from Parent Toolkit

The Five-Finger Rule

During each book give-away session, we help our students select a book that is just right for their reading level. There is a simple trick you can do to help your child find a just-right book called the Five Finger Rule. Check out this video for more information on how this is done.

five finger rule

Books as Windows and Mirrors*

Books should be both windows into other worlds and experiences and mirrors for children to see themselves and their own lives reflected in stories. Check out these resources for finding books featuring diverse characters and experiences:

  • Madison Public Library has collected Racial Equity Resources including lists of books for children that focus on celebrating multiculturalism and overcoming bias.
  • The list of resources links to websites with a wide range of diverse stories.
  • We Read Too - Free app - Look for it on itunes, Android version is coming soon. As a college senior Kaya Thomas created this app which she describes as a ”directory of over 600 Children's and Young Adult fiction books written by authors of color for people of color.”

*Books as "Windows and Mirrors" comes from the work of Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop


Did you know that you can download audiobooks directly to your smartphone or tablet for free using your public library card? Why Audiobooks? Kids are able to listen to audiobooks that are much harder than the books they are able to read. This means that they are exposed to words that they might not know. Later when they see these words written out, they are more prepared to figure out what they mean. Also Audiobooks can be the perfect thing to give parents a moment of peace on a crazy, active summer day.

Here's how:

Reading Spaces

students lying down on a large pillow and reading

Challenge your kids to make a special cozy space that is just for reading. Some ideas are:

  • Build a fort from cardboard, chairs, sheets or blankets.
  • Pick out a special pillow to sit on and a stuffed animal to read with.
  • Place a comfy chair near a window and make a sign for the space. Examples, “Johnny’s Bookstore” or “Trisha’s Library”.
  • Bring a blanket outside on a sunny day.

Make it a tradition and keep this space going throughout the summer. You are making magical memories for your child surrounding books and reading. Parents and caregivers make sure you give yourself a break and climb in for a little cozy reading time too.

Reading and writing around the house

For literacy fun, watch this video about how to incorporate reading and math games into a family road trip.

Road Trip Tips from Parent Toolkit on Vimeo.

You can find opportunities for reading and writing with your kids everywhere. Check out this information about "Reading and Writing around the House" from our Family Literacy Resource.

Public library visits

Use the public library as a resource! If you or your children don't have a public library card, you can get one for free at any library location. Just bring in a photo ID and proof of your current address to get a card and start checking out book, movies, and lots of other great resources. Looking for great app recommendations? Our librarian reviews some of the best apps on the news and shares them here with you!

Here is a link to MPL books that go along with our weekly themes.

Tips for reading together

When reading together with your kids, stop to ask questions about what is happening in the book. This helps them to learn to read more closely which is an important skill for school success. Check out this video of some of our Read Up students from Lake View Elementary reading together and asking great questions.

Here are some strategies for close reading.