Thursday, July 8, 2010

day 184: creating a “summer reading program” for your child

The countdown is on for “back to school.” School supplies are starting to be on sale, book bags and backpacks abound, and everywhere you go you hear about how “school is just around the corner.”

Don’t despair! School isn’t really quite as soon as everybody makes it out to be. Most of us still have a good month before school will begin in our area. That is one month to do some of those “schoolish” types of things that you wanted to do this summer but didn’t get to. One of those things might be to have your students involved in meaningful, consistent reading.

Reading programs to the rescue! Maybe you didn’t get your child signed up for the library reading program. Maybe you did, but it fell by the way with vacation and pool parties. Regardless, you can create your own summer reading program to up the reading during the last few weeks of summer.

I often created my own summer reading program for my kids in addition to the one at the libraries. I was notorious for signing my kids up for every summer reading program available—our local library, the big library of which we are “affiliates” through our library, the minor league baseball’s program, the Christian bookstore’s program, the secular bookstore’s reward system, etc. Then I created my own in addition to those—can you tell I think reading is important???

The programs I created usually ran simultaneously with the library one—but they had to do “bonus” reading to earn mine—such as so many minutes a day or so many page books, etc. I would offer bigger rewards than the library—an evening out with Mom and Dad or an afternoon at “Build a Bear,” etc. when they finished the program.

If you are trying to get your kids involved in reading during the last four weeks or so of summer, you might want to offer smaller, more consistent rewards---small reward after so many minutes of reading are accrued or a prize after each chapter book, etc. to keep it alive. Then, of course, you can offer a prize at the end for finishing your little program as well.

If you have younger children (grades two through four, especially), it is more important than ever to have your kids practicing their skills through the summer. These grades are notorious for “losing what they don’t use.” Yes, his or her teacher will review in the fall for the first few weeks, but wouldn’t it be better if your child started out the year ahead rather than behind?

Tomorrow---links for charts and checksheets that you can use for chores, reading, devotions, etc. to help build consistency and responsibility in your kids. Use them to create your own little summer reading program!

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