Start the summer with a special event. The only rule: Kids get to read whatever they want (within reason). And you get snacks.

By Jane Borden
Updated July 17, 2017
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Books are better by flashlight, right? Pitch a tent in the backyard. (Alternative: Build a fort in the living room and turn out the lights.) Make s’mores, stay up a little past bedtime, and include some age-appropriate scary stories. Big kids can read to little siblings.


Pack a blanket, a picnic basket, and lemonade, and head to the park. (Stop at the library on the way.) Or make it a hike and read at the destination point with trail mix. Add a sense of mystery, Pam Allyn, founder of LitWorld and author of What to Read When, suggests, by saying, “Let’s not tell one another what we’re reading until we get there.”


Put on PJs and let everyone in your bed just this once. Keep it silly—no frozen-undies pranks, “but maybe a basket full of joke or riddle books, nothing too serious,” says Allyn. Or have a theme: Cook a French dinner and then read Madeline or The Hunchback of Notre Dame.