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Summertime, and the reading is easy

Dust off your library cards (or, if you’re a homeschooler, pay up your fines!), it’s time for summer reading!


But first, some thoughts on summer reading plans, programs, and purposes. (Please note, this is just my opinion based on my own experience, not The Authoritative Method for Summer Reading.) I love to read, and one of my top educational priorities is passing on that love to my children. It hurts my heart when adults don’t like to read, and I think most of that distaste for reading is cultivated in childhood.  If reading is always a struggle and a chore, it’s not going to be a life-long love. Summer reading is one tool I use to develop a passion for reading in my children. The goal is to make summer reading as joyful and unstressful as possible. We don’t have reading lists the kids have to work through, they’ll pick their own books to read. (And if they pick a book they just can’t get into, they get to abandon it!) We’ll make reading time an honored, important, joyful time in our home. It will be a daily fixture on the schedule where I pop some popcorn, mix up a pitcher of lemonade and toss some comfy pillows around. And yes, when they reach reading goals, they’ll be rewarded. (Do I double dip for different reading programs? You bet your sweet bippy I do!)

My favorite reading programs are those that track minutes read and not books read because that’s less stressful for struggling readers. (Half Price Books and Scholastic both offer this option in their reading programs.)  If you have a kid who has a very difficult time reading, you might consider letting him count read-alouds and audio books toward his reading goals. If you consider that reading a book really happens in your mind, then eyes are just one medium. You can read with your fingers (braille), your ears (audio books), or your eyes, and your brain is still getting the same information, albeit through different means and processed in different ways. Personally, I do count auditory “reading” for my boys.  They are required to read in the traditional manner every day for a certain number of minutes, and then they listen to a whole lot — to me, to their sisters, and to audio books. So far, they haven’t developed negative feelings about reading, even though it doesn’t come as easy to them as easy as it came to their sisters. Since my goal is for them to read throughout their lives, my focus 8 and 10 years old is to help them develop the tools and the passion. Both are important, and I don’t want one to get in the way of the other.

Anyway, the summer reading programs!

Barnes and Nobles has a read 8 books, get a book free.

Half Price Books has the best-named program: Feed Your Brain. My eldest has aged out of the reading log and has to write a (short) book report on one book per month to get the reward. Getting older stinks.
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Pizza Hut has Book It for summer, but the website is a little vague on the details.

The Texas grocery store HEB has a reading club that offers a free t-shirt for reading 10 books. Meh.

Scholastic has an online summer reading program. You log in minutes read and unlock rewards.

There are also probably local businesses in your community that have reading programs. Be sure to check out what your local library is offering.

And don’t forget yourself!  So far, my summer reading list includes Augustine of Hippo by Peter Brown (Thanks, Erika!), The Wright Brothers by David McCollough, Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry, and The Monster Hunter International series by Larry Correia. Right now, I’m listening to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which is fascinating and heartbreaking. I’m not sure what my reward will be for my summer reading program, maybe an adult beverage and a few hours peace and quiet.

What is your favorite summer reading program for kids? Do you have a summer reading list for yourself? What do you think would be a good reward for an adult summer reading program?

2 responses to “Summertime, and the reading is easy”

  1. Mary Holley Avatar
    Mary Holley

    For me, having the luxury to read is the reward.

    1. April Avatar

      Well, yeah, but I want a prize, too!

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