How to Add Fun to Your Required Summer Reading

Required summer reading can often be a total snooze fest, but it doesn’t have to be! Check out the ideas listed here to find inspiration on making reading those required books more fun.


Use It to Boost Your Annual Reading Goals

A girl lays on her stomach, surrounded by books, as she reads a book.

If you’re not already signed up, head over to Goodreads to create an account and track the books you read throughout the year. You can also set an annual reading goal with the Goodreads Reading Challenge. As you read for fun, you can add your required reading to your “Read” list, boosting the number of books read to reach your annual reading goal faster.


Try the Audiobook Version

If you’re not really into reading, try listening to the audiobook version! Plus, sometimes the classics can be a bore to read, so check out the audiobook to see if you enjoy listening to it more – bonus is you can listen to it at up to 2.0x the original speed to finish the book faster.

Audiobooks are accessible via listening platforms such as Audible, Apple Books, Spotify, etc., but are also available for free via Libby or Hoopla with your Indian River County Library Card.


Annotate as You Read

Annotating is often considered an academic activity, but in recent years, it has been highlighted as a way to make reading for fun more… well, fun! It’s a great way to enhance the reading experience and understand the book in ways you never expected. You don’t have to get fancy with how you annotate or worry about how it looks aesthetically. If you’re worried about ruining your books or get major ick from seeing writing in books, use sticky notes to jot down your ideas. For more tips and ideas on how to annotate, check out this post by Jackie on the Bookish Coffee Blog. 


Create a Bookstagram

If you love sharing what you’re reading with friends and family, try starting a Bookstagram (aka a book Instagram) or featuring book posts on your current Instagram account. Sharing what you’re reading, book reviews, annotations, and everything you love about books can make reading way more fun. The Bookstagram community is a great place to start having more fun with your required reading, and starting to post about books is super easy! Check out this resource from Reedsy on how to start a Bookstagram account and begin posting. 


Complete a Buddy Read

Required summer reading can often feel like a mountain you have to climb alone when in reality, it’s not a solitary activity because everyone in your class has to read it too. So, as a way to spice up the experience, read it at the same time as a friend. Reading it together offers multiple ways to add fun to the experience. You can make it a competition to see who can finish it first, discuss certain points while you read, and compare annotations or favorite parts. 


Start a Book Club 

Three people sit at a picnic table with books in front of them.

If you’re already a part of a book club, you can make your required reading the books your club reads over the summer. However, if you’re not part of a book club, this may be the perfect opportunity to start one with friends. After reading the books, you can get together to discuss the book, and often you can find questions for the book by Googling the book title and “book club questions.” For more information on how to start a book club, check out this post from The Candid Cover.


Host a Themed Dinner Party or Make Meals Inspired by the Books

This can easily be the theme of a book club meeting, but if you’re not looking to commit to a book club, then a one-time meeting to discuss the book might be for you! Hosting a themed party can include: 

  1. Everyone gathered to discuss the book with some decorations inspired by the book strewn about.
  2. Everyone can come dressed as a character from the book.
  3. You can recreate one of the scenes from the book.
  4. You can host a potluck with recipes inspired by the book. Recipes can be found by Googling the book title and “inspired recipes” or “food from the book.”


Host a Movie Party

Instead of just discussing the book, how about getting together to watch the movie version? There’s nothing better than gathering with friends to eat snacks and seeing how badly a director has interpreted the book you just read. If you’re wanting to watch the film version of the book, you can do so if it is available on streaming platforms (i.e., Netflix, Hulu, Disney+). You can also check to see if your local library has a DVD copy or if it is available on Hoopla.


Discover how to make your summer reading enjoyable with these creative ideas. If you have additional suggestions or would like to learn more about the ones listed, please share your thoughts with us by emailing us at We would appreciate hearing about your experiences trying out any of these ideas.


Olivia Zugay, virtual assistant and editor at UF/IFAS Extension Indian River County
Posted: June 7, 2023

Category: 4-H & Youth, Work & Life
Tags: 4-H Book Club, Book Club, Books, Kids And Books, Reading, Summer Reading

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