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Summer’s more relaxed schedule is a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of the school year. The opportunity to spend more time together as a family and not worry about what team practice is which night, gives the opportunity for different leisure activities. My family has weekly movie nights where we get a pizza and watch (most likely) a princess movie. I find myself allowing for more show and movie time during summer and am motivated to make reading more of a priority!


Here are 5 free resources to help keep your family reading this summer:


Your local library: Your local library can be a great resource for FREE summer reading. Not only can you utilize borrowing books, many offer summer reading programs and enrichment activities for kids. Check out your library’s website, mine has the New York Times© best seller list highlighted on the home page and allows you to request books from the list. This is how I read 90% of my books. I find the book I want (by simply just choosing from the best seller lists) and then join a queue to get notified when it is ready to pick up. My library also offers digital downloads and audio books easily secured through the CloudLibrary smart phone app. I download a book before a road trip and there is sweet silence in the back seat!


Goodreads: This is the Facebook for books. You can see what your friends are reading and how they rated the book on a scale from 1-5. This is a good resource to keep track of what your friends are reading and get ideas for books based on what you have read. This site also helps me keep track of what I have read and track my goals for reading.


Common Sense Media: This site offers age-based ratings and reviews on movies, TV shows, and books. It lists “triggers” or sensitive topics you may encounter when reading the book. This is great if you have a child sensitive to certain topics (for example, bullying). Each review breaks down education value, positive messages, positive role models, violence and scariness, and language.


Everyday Reading: This former librarian and mother of three shares book lists and recommendations for children of all ages (and adults). My family has enjoyed her audiobook recommendations and read aloud chapter books for young children. There is also a fun free summer reading chart for tracking and motivating your family to keep reading! The site is also great for ideas- including a recommendation for 100 picture books to read this summer.


Podcasts: I have a few favorites listed below, but the options are endless! You can find a podcast about almost any topic that interests you or your family. Check out podcast reviews on your podcast provider of choice and your car rides and quiet time will be just that- QUIET!

By Kids for Kids: Story Time

Stories Podcast

Sparkle Stories


I have always found so much joy in reading and hope to pass that along to my two girls. The resources above will help make it so easy to share reading and stories with your kids this summer.


How do you keep your family reading during the summer? What are your favorite family books?


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About the Blogger: Briana Hartzell is a Navy spouse, mother to two beautiful girls (5 and 3 years), a former full time USAA employee and a graduate of Texas A&M University. Briana writes at Being Briana, a blog focused on the joys that military life and parenthood can bring.