Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer Reading Programs For Kids

Summer vacation is beating down the back door. This means that my kids will soon be driving each other crazy out of boredom and I'll be consumed with trying to keep them busy without breaking the bank. I think they have realized we aren't going to do everything they want to do. I have realized that they aren't going to love everything I am going to do with them. That's okay. We'll find a happy medium.

One thing I don't compromise on is reading time. The way I see it is that most kids aren't going to busy themselves with any kind of reviewing or prep work for the next school year (unless required of course) so it's up to us to ensure that they are still learning something over the summer months. Last year I made a summer reading log for each of my kids. I had one reader and one that was still being read to so the set up for each was different.

For the reader:

We came up with a list of people in history that we wanted her to learn about. We had her pick 15 or so that also interested her. Then she just had to answer a set of questions for each and put it in paragraph form.  This got her reading, learning about history, and practicing her writing skills. To put it together I just used a simple folder with brads.

For the Pre-Reader:

Obviously, since my other child wasn't yet reading, the set up for this reading log is different. I just made a form that we could fill in with the titles of the book. The rest of the pages in her folder were blank. Instead of answering questions, she had to draw a picture of something from the book. Her picture also had to include the title of the book. I also had her tell me about her picture so that I could include a caption (this proves handy when you have forgotten what the heck the picture is supposed to be of!).This is a great way to help with reading comprehension and writing skills. She got to color so that was a bonus for her and I got to keep her "bound" book as a keepsake.

"Herbert Horatio and his friend
played table tennis and one
day he said it doesn't
matter about being rich"
My kids weren't overly excited about the idea of this at first so we made a contest out of it. You can choose to encourage them in whatever way you'd like, but the way we did it was that whoever read the most books would get to go to a family dinner at the restaurant of their choice at the end of the summer. Since I could read a book a night with my younger child, I made the younger one read 3 books for every 1 for the older. This evened things up a bit.  A great way to celebrate the accomplishments of both (or all as the case may be), let the other child(ren) pick the dessert or an appetizer.

This is just one way to keep your kids reading during the summer months. Another great idea is to sign up for summer reading programs at you local library or at bookstores like Barnes & Noble, Borders, or Waldenbooks. Here are the links to the ones I've found online. If there isn't one in your area, just make your own.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter how you do it-just get your kids to read!

Photo Credit: Barnes & Noble
Photo Credit: Borders

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