With our kids’ summer vacations starting this weekend, we’ve come up with a fun twist on our usual summer reading goals. The idea came to us this morning while playing “Would You Like” on a family outing, came home made a paper template, and an hour later Sherry mentioned it on Instagram. Then Sherry’s DMs got flooded with people asking her to share a copy of the bracket or to tell her where we got it (we made it in Photoshop), so we decided to leave two free printable options It has been told about it here in this post. As a 41-year-old man myself, I had some fun making this filled sample above (our kids have a lot of weird places of their own 😉
The idea is simple: Ask your kids to test out different reading positions and place each position in a March Madness-style bracket opposite them. Which is better: reading on my bed or under my bed? Floating in the pool or in a blanket fort? On a swing or on an outdoor swing. Lounging in a sleeping bag, in the empty tub, or in our swivel chair by the fireplace. We thought this would be a fun way for our kids to mix up their reading routine while officially crowning their favorite spot to unwind with a book.
Click above to download the printable Simplified Summer Reading Brackets
After first printing the simplified version above (that Sherry showed off on Instagram), I did some light tuning. First, I added some timing guides that were created for each stage of the competition. Things start off at 15 minutes at each location and eventually build up to 30 minutes (this seems to be the true test of each location).
I’ve also divided brackets (literally) into two sides: inner space vs outer space. It definitely inspired our kids to be more creative with their spaces while encouraging fresh air – and I think it would make for a more interesting final performance. My bet is on a swing taking the crown (Sherry’s money is on “swimming in the pool”).
Click above to download printable summer reading brackets (with times).
We let our kids come up with 16 of their own, which was another fun activity in itself. Our son and daughter picked most of the same match-ups, but it was also fun to see that each of their bracket positions were different. They also picked two reading spots in our neighborhood to see if “destination reading” is more fun.
The printable is very simple because we wanted the kids to color it and personalize it (markers, stickers, etc.). We thought about adding some blank lines to keep the reading log, but we concluded that they could write it on the back of the paper if they wanted.
Other Reading Bracket Variations
There are many other ways in which you can tailor it to your children, their age, their reading interests, etc. As:
- Each round covers a different type of book (start with comics or graphic novels and build up to chapter books by the finale).
- Each round a new “comfort” item is added (perhaps a stuffed animal, then a snack, then a drink).
- Include bonuses for completing a round (like picking up a new book at the local bookstore or library – or earning time when Mom or Dad reads to them).
- Let siblings add to each other’s parentheses to introduce strange or awkward places (such as “I challenge you to read for 15 minutes on the tree”).
It can honestly be as involved or as simple as you want. We are trying this out for the first time because the kids loved the idea when we went out for morning walks. And if all goes well, following parentheses will add up to 30 separate reading sessions with their books (for each of them) totaling over 9 hours. Our kids love to read, so this isn’t really our way of tricking them — but it sure feels like the novelty of the head-to-head bracket competition has them extra willing to read their books right away (both Hee) reading in two very odd places as I’m typing this).
Then, here are the links to download each version:
Download Summer Reading Brackets Without Time
Download This Summer Reading Bracket With The Times
happy reading! Feel free to message Sherry on Instagram to let us know which spots in your house were favorites. Makes me want to see if I really like our hanging daybed, our hammock, or a lounge chair by our pool… but I’ll probably continue to play in the yard with all of them.