Summer vacation is one short week away and I am very ready for slow summer mornings, late nights with friends, and days at the pool. I am looking forward to no more homework assignments, school projects, or spelling lists. As ready as I am for school to be out, I will be pushing on thing in my house all summer: reading. Summer is a great time to get our kids hooked on books and excited about reading.
During the school year, a lot of our reading is focused on school related materials. The summer is the perfect chance to let your kids read whatever they want or whatever interests them. There may be mandatory lists for advanced students for their fall classes, but most of our summer reading should be enjoyable. This can be the perfect opportunity to instill the love of books into our kids.
The Fairfax County Public Libraries are hosting a Summer Reading Program that kids can register for. It is free and kids can win prizes and treats for the books they read. Over $4 million in prizes have been donated by area businesses. Preschoolers-6th graders have to read 15 books, and students entering 7th-12th grade must read eight books by September 3rd. When kids complete the program, they receive a coupon book with the prizes. This is a great, inexpensive way to keep your kids reading all summer.
We buy a lot of books right now because our children love the actual possession of the books. Each of our bedrooms has a full bookshelf. It gets expensive, but my kids love to read their books over and over. I also know that I always forget to take back library books. It’s something that I can never remember to do, and ordering a book from Amazon is just much easier for me. We occasionally go to the library, but I usually keep that for during the school year at their school.
Once my kids reach a certain age, I am sure I will buy them an electronic reading device. Everyone in our house is an avid reader, and I know as teenagers that will be something to keep their interest in reading. The cost for them is coming down, and it can be a true investment in their future. A feature of our iPad I love is the app that reads books to preschoolers. My five year old loves to have books read and it’s a perfect way to keep her entertained when we are on the go.
I love the libraries summer reading program, and will be signing my kids up for it. The one caveat I have is that June to September is a long time to wait for a reward for kids. In our house, we supplement the program with our own reading prizes. We keep a chart on the fridge and the kids can earn reading bucks. These can be redeemed for going to the movies, a toy, a video game. Each book is worth a dollar amount based on age and the book. The kids love it an compete with each other to see who reads more. This keeps reading fun and exciting in our house and it ensures the kids won’t lose their skills over the summer.