Growing up in the ‘90s, winning pizza for completing your summer reading challenge was a big deal. Not to sound like a washed-up millennial, but those were the good ol’ days —spending hours devouring The Saddle Club and being rewarded with thick, gooey cheese pizza. As a mom, uninterrupted time to read (and eat carbs) sounds like heaven, but for my kids? Not so much. Thankfully, summer reading doesn’t have to be a battle.
Actress and mom-of-3 Hilary Duff recently partnered with Epic, a leading digital reading platform for kids ages 3-12. “I absolutely loved reading with these cute kids at @epic4kids Go Anywhere event celebrating summer!” she wrote on Instagram, adding that she is offering three months of Epic free to her followers.
To mark the collaboration, Duff shared four exclusive summer reading tips with SheKnows that will make reading more exciting for kids. If you’ve ever struggled to get your little one to pick up a book, these genius hacks are for you.
Tip #1: Encourage Reading at Bedtime
The How I Met Your Father actress, who is mom to Luca, 10, with ex Mike Comrie, and Banks, 3, and Mae, 1, with husband Matthew Koma, says reading together at night is “routine.”
“Story time has always been a big part of my family’s nighttime routine and it’s a great way for us to spend quality time together at the end of the day,” she said. “Luca and Banks (and even Mae!) now look forward to reading at the end of the day and are excited to see what adventures we will get into before bed.”
As a mom of three myself, including a baby, this is so relatable. My 5- and 3-year-olds already want to delay bedtime — why not use that as leverage to get them involved in a good book?
Tip #2: Allow the Kids to Choose
I know, the perfectionist in me has a hard time with this one, but Duff has a point. After all, I like to choose my books, too.
For her, it’s more about letting her kids follow their passions of the moment. “Since their interests are constantly changing, Luca and Banks are always most excited to read when they get to choose their own books either at the library or through Epic’s digital library,” she said.
“Whether they are interested in puppies or are in a superhero phase, Epic has thousands of books (including some of my family’s favorites) so they never get bored,” she added.
Tip #3: Implement Theme Weeks
Looking to add a little pizzazz to summer reading? Turn it into a game by implementing theme weeks, which Duff said helps her kids get “excited” about reading.
“Throughout the summer when the kids are home from school, I like to create themed weeks when we choose books and corresponding activities that get the kids excited — sometimes we learn about animals while other times we will explore magical lands,” she said. “This summer Epic is inviting kids to Go Anywhere through reading with curated book collections that take them on adventures from Prehistoric Times to Outer Space, making themed weeks even easier and more fun!”
Tip #4: Take Books to Go
My mom used to say, “you’ll never regret bringing a book,” and that advice still rings true. Duff also encourages parents to bring books for the kids when you leave the house.
“When we travel or even just leave the house for dinner, we never leave home without a few books, especially for Banks and Mae,” she said. “They are a great distraction from car rides, flights or long wait times, and always having books around has made reading an important part of my children’s lives.” We all know how much Mae can scream on a flight, so any distraction is definitely worth trying.
She added, “You can bring physical books, or I love to bring an iPad so the kids can access Epic’s library on-the-go.”
Whether they’re reading a book from the library, a book on their iPad, or just looking at picture books in the car, anything that gets your kids to read more is definitely a win!
Check out these diverse books for kids!