Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mom's Guide To.... Summer Reading

Summer is almost upon us, and Big Girl finishes school in less than a week. The big buzz word is always "summer reading," and our schools pass out reading logs to participate in our "Governor's Reading Challenge" each June. I can honestly saw I'm not sure what participating means, as we never hear the results of this "challenge." Last year, Big Girl's school gave an incentive for completing the log: The kids got to participate in a session of reading on blankets and beach towels, with a special snack, one September afternoon.

My oldest likes to read, so it's not hard to get her to pick up a book, or two. But like many kids, she sometimes gets distracted from the joy of reading, turning to a video game, or watching Disney Channel or playing Animal Jam online. This summer, I hope to find a better balance for her. To start, I'm going to treat her to some new books to get her started and hopefully inspired to read. I've asked her for some requests, but I'd also like to get her some classics she may like too.

And then there is the idea of incentives. I'm thinking of starting our own family incentive program for reading, including myself and reading to the babies. I'd like to finish a few books this summer. And although I read to the babies daily at bedtime, I'd like to squeeze in more reading time for them as well.

Of course, I need a plan and a goal, so I headed to Google to search for some ideas. I found this adorable reading log printable, which I'm considering adapting for my family summer reading plan:
Isn't this so happy and cute?

Tip Junkie also has a summer printable reading kit, and Brown Paper Packages has a great post on how to create a summer reading program for your family. The mom used little cardstock circles which said "I've read 20 minutes" or "I've read a book" which kids can put in a little bucket with their name on it. At the end of the week, mom counts the circles and offers rewards -- a simple as an ice cream cone or a coupon to stay up late or even a date night with mom and dad.

If you don't want to set up your own personal summer reading program, there are many incentive programs available to get kids to read. The first place to look is at your local library.

Barnes & Noble also has a summer reading program where kids who read and complete a form can earn a free book.

TD Bank will give $10 to kids for reading this summer as well. The money will be deposited into a new or existing TD bank account in the child's name.

The blog Living on the Cheap has a great compilation of summer reading programs available.

I think I'll participate in a few outside ones as well as trying to inspire my family to read more often this summer. Since I try for some quiet time every afternoon, I'm thinking that's a good time to try to start a reading routine in our house. On days we are home, I will try and set aside a time to sit down with the kids and some books. I will also try to get Big Girl to read to her siblings, possibly during dinner prep when the twins need some attention. That would be a great addition to our routine. As for myself? I think I should possibly hop back on the exercise bike regularly with a book, to strengthen both body and mind!

I'm also hoping to get Big Girl hooked on several great books this summer. She wants to read more of Rick Riordan's "Percy Jackson" series, so that is definitely on the list. She really enjoyed one of the books in the "Mother-Daughter Book Club" series, by Heather Vogel Frederick, so adding a few more of those to our library will likely be an option as well.

And to keep the cost of books down, I'm sure we will visit the library a few times, as well as our library's used bookstore, where books are priced at practically pennies.

If you are not sure where to find ideas of books your children might like or should be reading at their level, there are a few places where you can check out reading lists online.

Reading Rockets has a summer reading list on this link, and About.com has a great compilation of several lists at this link.

Good luck with your family summer reading plans!
Feel free to add ideas and links in the comments!

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