Sunday, June 14, 2009

Get ready, get set, read!!

Hip hip hooray! It's the middle of June and libraries across the country have started their summer reading programs. This means books, books and more glorious books. For the past two summers my children have participated in our town's program. The first summer we stumbled upon a challenge. One librarian had said to my oldest son "if you complete this chart by the end of the summer you can earn a prize." Well she obviously didn't know whom she was talking to. My oldest son lives and breathes to compete, he heard the word prize and immediately thought of it as a contest.
Seizing the homeschooling moment, and making sure it didn't turn into sibling competition, we set a date and vowed to be finished with our chart by then. This way we were competing against time and not each other. That summer the kids read about 40 or so books and surprised the librarian by bringing back their first chart in two weeks. Last summer, we pledged to beat our old record of two charts. The boys did amazing and ended up reading over 60 books.
The challenge for 2009 is on and we are off to a great start. It is only one week into the program and already we have 20 books read. I see another record in our future.
The summer reading program offers something for everyone. The avid reader has an excuse for keeping his nose snugly in the happy pages of a book, the the struggling reader can watch her progress as she continues to add titles to her reading chart, and the reluctant child is rewarded for his efforts with recognition and prizes. Parents are not left out either. During the summer the libraries provide a host of free activities every week to keep your children entertained without draining your wallet.
If you find that your family is in a reading rut or you have a reluctant reader use the program to ignite a passion for books. Allow your child total freedom to set a goal and name a prize (as long as its reasonable for your family) for accomplishing that reading goal. With my middle child last summer he chose to read 10 library books on his own and his prize was a personal copy of his favorite. Some people take a trip to J.P. Licks, whatever works for you.

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