Thoughts on the Summer Reading Programs

I love the library summer reading programs. Some of my fondest childhood memories were trying to make progress on my summer reading so I could get the coupon for an ice cream cone or a roller skating session or something of the like. I still have this very clear vision of the children’s room at the old, old West Salem Library (for those of you in the know, it was when the library was in the brick building on Edgewater) and moving my game piece through the maze the number of spaces corresponding to the number of books I read that week.

I was always bummed that, when I was a kid, our library’s summer reading program only went through 6th grade. I think, once I was a bit too old to participate, they extended it up through junior high, or maybe even high school, but there was nothing for adults.

Well, the library powers that be have finally gotten with the game and now have (at least at my library) ADULT SUMMER READING! They’ve actually had it for a few years but it hasn’t always worked. Lately, it’s been sort of vague without any real direction. This year, however, they’ve brought back the bingo card and I am here for this! I just realized that all the books I currently have going fill different bingo squares. Heck, I might just go for blackout!

Now, how about the kids? I signed both kids up today, when we signed up, they both claimed their free book. My son’s challenge is to read for 20 minutes for 20 days and my daughter will “earn” one dollar to be donated to a local animal shelter for every hour she reads.

Personally, measuring reading by time is not the most effective method for my kids. We make a point to read together for an hour after lunch most days. So, in addition to the library program, the kids are doing a 30 book “tower of books” challenge. Once they read 30 books (and a book can only count once–no reading the same Wimpy Kid book 30 times!), they get some money to spend at a toy store. We’ve done this in the past, although my son’s goal was 20 books and my daughter’s was 40 (my son was not a confident reader at that point), which led to a lot of whining from one party. This time, they are both at 30.

It’s strange because “summer reading” isn’t a thing for me. I don’t read any differently in the summer than I do most other times of the year and I usually don’t have more time to read. However, it is a great time to really develop a love for reading with my kids. During the school year, I don’t push reading as much because they have reading to do in school. In summer, though, they have no such constraints and all the time in the world to read. And earn prizes….

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About Melinda