>Encouraging Summer Reading

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I’ve already written a little bit here about my big project this summer to help my son Nathan maintain the new reading skills he acquired in Kindergarten this year.  So when I saw the request from TwitterMoms for a post about how you encourage summer reading, sponsored by the  I Can Read! series of books by Harper Collins, I happily decided to expand on the details of my plan.  Learn more about that here. I happen to love the I Can Read! series and I actively sought out their books when shopping at my sons Scholastic book fair last spring and also at Target not long ago. 

First of all, I’m a firm believer if having a house FULL of books.  I have seen studies that demonstrate a correlation between the amount of books available in a home to a child’s academic performance.  The study was really about socioeconomic factors on kids in school, but the bottom line was that wealthier and more educated parents are far more likely to have a lot of books available to their kids than parents living in poverty.  That somehow translates directly to academic success.

So when my grandparents ask what to give my kids for Christmas and birthday gifts, I usually say books.  They are easier to pick out than the one hundred million brands and variations of toys for kids these days, especially for my 90 year old grandparents.  They often poo-poo this idea, stating that kids like toys better than books, but I think they grossly underestimate how much my kids enjoy books and how good they are at choosing the right ones.  Also good quality children’s books can be expensive, so they are a good gift for my grandparents to give since money is not an issue for them. 

And when my mother-in-law asks the same question, I will include books in my anwer as well…because she is a first grade teacher and she had fantastic instincts on great kids’ books as well as access to all those great deals through Scholastic.  She gives toys as well, which is fine by me, but I love the little stacks of books she sends for holidays like Easter or Halloween. 

I also have a tendency to buy a lot of books at garage sales and consignment stores where they have simply been outgrown but can be had for pennies on the dollar.  I remember coming upon a yard sale when I was pregnant with Nathan and buying piles of baby board books for a quarter a piece…I guarantee we have read all of them over and over.  Having shelves full of books that we own encourages my kids to find their favorites and read them again and again…which in turn leads to them being able to read them by themselves at any age.  I love listening to my two year old open his Five Little Ladybugs books and “read” it out loud to himself! 

But library books are also a tremendous resource.  Libraries are everywhere and generally available to everyone for no cost!  I have clear memories of the library where I grew up, and especially of participating in their summer reading program…something that almost all libraries employ.  It was fun for me to check out a stack of books and return the following week to fill out the log book under my name.  It became a competative thing for me, something I was good at.  I enrolled Nathan in a summer reading program back when we lived in Pennsylvania and he was only 2 or 3.  This year I have signed up both of my kids at our local library.  Our library even gives out trophies when kids read 20 books…and Nathan loves trophies!  He has three of them from playing soccer and I can’t wait for him to get his reading trophy. 

This summer I have implemented my own summer education program which includes themed weeks.  I wrote about our zoo themed week, and all the adorable books we got with the zoo theme.  Now we are doing a weather theme this week, with a visit to the Weather Museum which is unique to Houston.  It was so easy for me to log into our library system’s card cataglogue from home and request up to ten books from libraries far and wide on my weather theme.  I look forward to picking them up and engaging Nathan with stories of hurricanes and tornadoes.  He really is a budding meteorologist, asking to see the radar maps on our computers anytime the sky starts to look gray.  I’m sure he will zip through the weather books I get this week. 

What are your tips for encouraging your kids in summer reading? 

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms blogging program to be eligible to get an “I Can Read!” book. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. >Good for you to keep the kids interested in reading. Our local library runs a board game in the summer to encourage kid's reading. As they land on certain squares, it tells the kids to chose and read a certain type of book (i.e. mystery etc.)Plus as with all in life, it helps if the parents set a good example and do what they are saying the kids to do.

    Reply

  2. >Hurrah for summer reading. I'm impressed with your efforts.

    Reply

  3. >Love this post about encouraging reading…I spend lots of time trying to get my kids to read..we love books! we have just started a 2 week break her in Aussie and I have asked all my kids to give me a plan of what books they want to read during this time so we can make sure we plan in time for reading with everything else. It is so worth the effort. Naomi

    Reply

  4. >Truth, I just bribed Nathan with a silly band to read five books out loud instead of watching cartoons. It totally worked.

    Reply

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