361: How to Make Reading Fun This Summer // Janssen Bradshaw

Knowing how to make reading fun for our kids can be exasperating! 

As a kid, I spent hours every day reading in the summer. I’d come home from the library with stacks of books. I was so jazzed when I got my “personal pan pizza” from Pizza Hut after I completed the Summer Reading Program. 

Do you remember those days? 

My kids are not quite as easily motivated. With summer coming up, I want to find ways to get them into books, but it will take more than the promise of a pizza to get them to dive in. They like to read but don’t love it like I did as a kid. 

Sometimes, I want to roll my eyes and throw up my arms while I groan, “Kids these days!”  (And yes, I realize that makes me sound as old as I am!).  👵

That’s why I’m truly grateful for the interview I did with reading expert Janssen Bradshaw. She gave me strategies for how to make reading FUN this summer. Fun is something my kids can get on board with! I’m excited I get to share Janssen’s wisdom with you! 

Janssen is a former school librarian, a book blogger for nearly 18 years, and a mom to four girls. She and her husband also founded Savvy Learning in 2020. Savvy provides live online reading and math instruction for pre-K to 6th-grade children. 

I always love talking about reading, and I always love talking to Janssen (click here for the other interview I did with her!), so this conversation was a double win for me! 


Janssen Bradshaw’s tips for how to make reading fun this summer: 


1) Focus on creating positive associations with reading.

It’s hard to become a lifelong reader if your only association with reading is a dreaded chore on your checklist. Janssen recommends not using reading as something they have to do before they earn the “fun” things like screen time. 

This is a good reminder for me! How will my kids learn to love reading if they only see it as a chore? 

Janssen also gives some great ideas for creating these positive associations with reading: 

1) Go to the bookstore at the beginning of summer and let everyone buy a book or two. 

2) Read a book together and then watch the movie version. 

3) Make a library trip part of your weekly routine (and maybe include a stop for a Slurpee or cookie afterward! Or pizza for nostalgia’s sake?). 🍕 

4) Reserve special snacks just for afternoons when you have reading time.

5) Let them read some fluffy nonsense they love. It’s okay if they’re not soaking in Charles Dickens and Louisa May Alcott! 

If it gets them reading, it’s a win!


2) Make time and space for reading in your schedule.

We all know that when there is a set time for something to occur, it is much more likely to happen! Janssen suggests deciding on times and places when your family will read this summer and then put a note in the calendar. 

Will you do it at bedtime, or is that just too crazy in the summer? An ideal time could be in the late afternoon when it’s too hot to play outside anyway. I love the idea of the entire family taking an hour of quiet time where we eat snacks and chillax. You could also do Friday Reading Time on a blanket outside or dedicate some time for read-alouds and audiobooks on a family road trip. 

When you decide in advance and set a time and/or place for reading, it will be much more likely to happen! 


3) Give your child a lot of book options and availability.

Keep books plentiful and visible around your house. This might look like having a bookshelf for your library books next to some comfy reading chairs or strategically rotating which books you have out on the coffee table or the nightstand in their bedroom. 

When books are easy to grab, it’s much more likely that reading will happen! 

As you prep for summer, consider how you want to manipulate your home environment to include visual cues that might lead to more reading! And remember, it doesn’t have to be a Pinterest-worthy setup! Floors that are scattered with piles and piles of books are beautiful! 



Don’t you love these ideas from Janssen on how to make reading fun this summer? 


If you need suggestions for books for your kids or yourself, check out Janssen’s blog where she has dozens of booklists for nearly every topic and category. She also has a free summer reading chart for kids if you want a fun way to track your family’s reading. 


I’m rooting for you this summer! Here’s to many hours of happy, silly, playful reading! 


>>>Are these ideas from Janssen Bradshaw helpful? How do you plan to make reading fun this summer? Share below! 

Save this summary of how to make reading fun to Pinterest so you can use it later! 👇

3 in 30 Podcast with Rachel Nielson, Featuring Janssen Bradshaw on How to Make Reading Fun This Summer



Related Episodes like this one on how to make reading fun this summer:

Mentioned in the Episode:

About Our Guest:

Janssen Bradshaw is a former school librarian, a book blogger for nearly 18 years, and a mom to four girls. She and her husband also founded Savvy Learning in 2020. Savvy provides live online reading and math instruction for pre-K to 6th-grade children.


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