CommonLit Archive CommonLit's Summer Reading Challenge: How to Keep Students Motivated to Read Throughout the Summer

Set clear goals, track progress, and engage with your children as they complete CommonLit’s Summer Reading Challenge.

We know how important it is to keep children reading outside of the classroom — it gives students more practice reading and promotes their love of reading. But here at CommonLit, we also know how hard it is to sustain motivation during the summer. Especially after such an unpredictable school year, it can be difficult to encourage students to complete their summer reading.

When I was a teacher, I used a few strategies that helped motivate my students to continue reading beyond the classroom. Below I’ve listed some strategies that will help you and your child create goals and celebrate successes with CommonLit this summer.

Use CommonLit’s Summer Reading Tracker to record progress

CommonLit has created a digital tracker for parents who are interested in tracking progress story-by-story throughout the summer. You can access a View-Only Google doc version here. You can make a digital copy of the tracker and use it to record all of the progress your child has made. If your child has a summer reading goal from their school, we encourage you to share this tracker with your children’s teachers so they can celebrate their summer reading progress!

Here is an example of CommonLit’s Summer Reading Challenge Tracker filled out for our “Science!” reading list!

Set clear, attainable goals and celebrate progress

When you begin the reading challenge with your children, it is helpful to come up with a plan for when you will read and for how long. We recommend setting aside time every week for reading a CommonLit text. For some readers, having a scheduled time to read each day can serve as a helpful routine. While building reading habits helps children stay on track, the most important thing is that they are reading and enjoying it as often as possible. Work with your child to create a plan that feels exciting and attainable for them. The Summer Reading Tracker mentioned above is a great tool for monitoring your child’s reading progress.

Keep the conversation going

Beyond celebrating progress, be sure to keep the conversation going with your children. Spending time as a family to discuss the reading passages your children are reading encourages them to learn more about a topic or think more deeply about the moral of a story. Below are a few questions or prompts you can ask your children throughout the challenge:

Nonfiction reading passage

  • Tell me what this text was about.
  • Did you learn anything that surprised you?
  • Is there anything you would like to know more about?
  • Did you enjoy reading about this topic?

Fiction reading passage

  • Tell me what this story was about.
  • Did any of the characters do anything that surprised you?
  • What questions do you have about the story?
  • Was there a character in the story that you liked? Why or why not?

If you are looking for more questions that are specific to the CommonLit reading passage that your child has read, you can also use our Discussion Questions (found here). These Discussion Questions often connect the story/article to the world around us and are a great place to start a discussion after your child reads a passage.

Request a Certificate of Completion

As your children complete our reading lists, make sure you request a Certificate of Completion. We will send you a Certificate of Completion at the end of the summer to celebrate your child’s effort. We hope that our Summer Reading Challenge and Motivation Tips help your family celebrate and enjoy reading!

Note: With 11 engaging reading lists (full catalog of English and Spanish texts here) there is plenty of material for you and your children to read over the summer. Even if you have completed a reading list, you can always sign up for another challenge with your child!

If you have any questions please email us at