Looking for ways to make reading enjoyable for your children this summer? Kelly Wilson, an editor at Teaching Resource Center, put together a fabulous article filled with tips for Tiny Green Mom. A BIG thanks to Kelly!

Creating Easy Summer Book Projects

Summer reading is important for kids of all ages. Taking time to read keeps skills sharp, provides your kids with much-needed down time, and gives them a chance to enjoy reading. Help make summer reading fun for your kids with easy book projects.

Choosing the Book

Before your kids can complete a book project, they need to choose a book or two to read. Libraries and book stores offer many choices, and kids may need help choosing books that are appropriate for their reading levels. Some children pick books that are too easy, and some choose books that are too difficult. I’ve taught my kids the “Five Finger Method” for choosing the right book for them. They pick a book, open to a page and start reading. Then I tell them to hold up a finger each time they come to a word they don’t know. At the end of the page, if your child has zero or one finger up, the book is too easy. Five fingers up mean the book is too hard. Two or three fingers up mean it’s just right!

The Story Elements

The next step for a great book project is to identify the story elements, which are simple to adjust depending on your child’s reading level. For example, story elements for younger children include:

  • setting (the story’s time and place)
  • main character
  • the problem in the story
  • how the problem was solved.

For older kids, story elements include those four essentials above, as well as:

  • protagonist (good guy)and antagonist (bad guy)
  • plot (three main events)
  • climax (the highest point of action in the story, where events are brought to a head)
  • resolution (how the problem is solved, how the story is concluded)
  • theme (usually a lesson the main character(s) learned)

As you and your children read through their chosen books, have them chart or make notes about each of the story elements. This will keep the elements fresh in their minds when it’s time to make book projects.

Creating the Project

Creating a book project offers kids a way to connect with stories they read. For something basic to use all summer long, here’s a Book Box project that teaches kids how to write a simple Book Report. This can be in addition to any work they’ve done with story elements.

Once the story elements and basic book report have been finished, I’ve found the best book projects come out of the recycle bin. Our recycle bin offers a variety of cardboard boxes, plastic jugs or bottles, toilet paper rolls and paper. When kids combine these materials with scissors, glue, markers or crayons and other craft items, a variety of different – entertaining – book projects emerge.

The only rule I have for my kids is that whatever they create from these materials must reflect something about the book. If you kids get stuck on what to create, suggest the most important scene from the story, a pop-up project, or an alternate ending. Between your child’s imagination and materials in your recycle bin, the possibilities are endless!

Kelly Wilson is an editor at Teaching Resource Center. For over 25 years Teaching Resource Center has provided quality reading supplies at discount prices.