by Josephine Belliveau
Whether you’re a student, a parent, or an employee, things tend to slow down the longer the sun stays in the sky. It’s the break we all need! While we relax and plan beach trips, we’re nourishing our bodies with joy and rest. Just as important as our bodies, our mind and souls need fulfillment too. Summer reading can easily accommodate both of those things. Maybe you’re already an avid reader that already has a list of good books at the ready. If not, don’t give up on this chapter yet. You’re not alone. According to the Washington Post, a survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that Americans read for pleasure 30% less since 2004. In this multimedia world, it’s hard to sit down and read a book when our attention spans are so used to reading captions on Instagram posts. But this mental block is not as big as we think. Often it is just a matter of curating your reading list to topics and genres you’re interested in. Asking yourself what your ideal page-turner looks like is the first step towards building a summer reading habit.
Becoming a Bookworm
As someone who has always been a bibliophile, I asked my sister to speak on this topic. She was never a big fan of reading until recently, always finding it hard to focus on long stories she wasn’t interested in. It wasn’t until she began to read graphic novels and comics that she began to enjoy reading. She found a genre she loved and that works for her. Look at all the books you’ve read in the past. Were they hard-to-read classics you were required to read in school? Or perhaps a contemporary novel recommended by a friend that you found boring? Lucky for you, the genres of books are endless. The beginning of your summer reading challenge can be to explore them all. Fantasy, poetry, mystery, biographies… you’ll never know until you try.
Building a summer reading habit
Whether it’s making or breaking them, habits are never an easy endeavor. If you are just getting back into reading after being busy all year, or starting for the first time, dedicating yourself can be part of the summer challenge. But it’s not as hard as it seems. Sometimes encouragement can be as simple as a reminder on your phone, and you can plan for the times that it’s difficult to pick up a book.
What better way to plan your reading sessions and track your progress than with a planner? If you’re already in possession of one, you can add your reading goals to your daily plans. If not, there are several free printables online. Here is the one I use from Sunny Day Family. Make sure your goals are realistic and set them to be whatever works for you. Ten minutes or 30 minutes, don’t feel guilty for changing your daily minimum depending on the circumstances of your busy life. Be proud of yourself for taking the step of nourishing your mind and soul by building a summer reading habit.
Other Reading Activities
Don’t restrict your reading adventures to the comfort of your couch. Explore independent bookstores around town, such as Charter Books in Newport, RI, and sign up for events at your local library. Reading can take you many places that are fun for you, your friends, and your family. Form your own bookworm tribe! Starting or joining a book club with a few people that share your aspirations can create a sense of community. Morale and motivation will be higher when reading also means quality time with your loved ones.
If you are a more creative individual, decorating your own bookmarks by cutting out strips of scrapbook paper can be the perfect activity for you. This is a lovely craft to do with children or students as well. See what you can create with glitter, markers, and some imagination.
Find your summer reading list
If you’re overwhelmed with options of books to read or don’t know where to start, you can find a vast collection of reading lists online. Visit your local library and see their summer reading recommendations. Here are some from my local library for different age groups.
My little sister Lucille’s favorite book this summer is That Egg is Mine! by Liz Goulet Dubois. The books below are recommended for children ages 3-6.
- A Tiger Tail by M. Boldt
- My Heart Is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall
- Just a Duck? By Carin Bramsen
- Secret Pizza Party by Adam Rubin
- The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney
- Matilda by Roald Dahl
- Snail Worm by Tina Kugler
- The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
My middle school sister, Penelope’s favorite book this summer is Anne of West Philly: A Modern Graphic Retelling of Anne of Green Gables by Ivy Noelle Weir. The books below are recommended for ages 8-12.
- The Isle of the Lost by Melissa De La Cruz
- The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
- Ghost by Jason Reynolds
- The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene
- Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
- Behind the Bookcase by Mark Steensland
One of my favorite books this summer is On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. The books below can be enjoyed by adults as well as young adults.
- Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney
- Book Lovers by Emily Henry
- The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
- 1984 by George Orwell
- The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- The Secret History by Donna Tartt
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
What are your favorite summer reading options? Share your best books below in the comments.
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