Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summer Reading

Summer is a great time for reading with your kids. 
In our family we make reading a priority. I have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember and it has brought me so much joy in life that it is really important to me that my kids are exposed to it as well. 
Both of my girls have learned to read young. Abi was three when she started and was proficient by four. Maddy wasn't as interested as Abi so we took it much slower and she has just finished her lessons last month. 
I have taught quite a few kids to read because I have worked as a nanny and a pre-school teacher. 
I have used so many of the programs that are available and none of them hold a candle to the one I found out about when Abi was young. 
I used this book with her and I used it with Maddy. 
It is easy to do. You just sit down with your kids and read what it tells you to read, all in the one book. 
Anyone can use this with their kids. And by the time they are done with the entire book your kid will be on at least a second grade reading level. 

Now onto the fun!

Reading Program:
Every summer we get involved in the local library and Barnes and Noble reading programs to earn prizes. But we also do our own family reading program. 
One year, Abi had her timer bookmark and every time she got to ten hours of reading she got to have a special date with Doug or I. 
The next year she did a 100 book challenge. She picked out a toy she wanted and then after each book she read, she had to fill out a book journal with a summery of the book and a picture of something she liked from it. When she got to 100 books she got her prize. 

This year she asked to do the 100 books challenge again. 
She is working toward a Lego set that she picked out. 
With Maddy, however, we are doing a 40 hour challenge. We got her a timer bookmark of her very own to log her time reading. 
This way, it doesn't matter if she is reading a longer, chapter book or a smaller easy reader. She can read whatever she is interested in reading and just log the minutes. She is working toward a Shopkins toy. 

These challenges have really got them excited about reading. It is so fun to see them talk about the books they are reading and how far they are getting in their challenge. 

Bookworm Club:

To help them to love reading we also created the Bookworm Club. It is a mommy-daughter book club. We read for 30-60 minutes most evenings and then when we finish a book we have a Bookworm Club meeting with a treat and our Bookworm Reading Log. 
These have been so much fun! So far we have read Charlotte's Web, The Wizard of Oz, Ever After High #1, The Princess in Black, Princess Academy, and the first two Harry Potter books. 
We are currently reading the third one.

What if your kid doesn't enjoy reading?

Honestly, some won't. Or some won't right now.
But I think most kids can become readers by finding books about things they are interested in.
We go to the library a LOT. Sometimes they only pick out movies. Sometimes they just play on the computers. But sometimes they walk out with a bag of books because they have found something they are really interested in at that time. When they both were fascinated with dinosaurs I made sure that we had a lot of books about dinosaurs around for them to pick up.
Do not make the mistake of picking books based on their gender or age only. Again, every kid is different. Let them help you find what they like. Think outside the box and you will be more likely to find the right book!

My kids see me reading all of the time. So it is natural for them to pick up a book and come sit by me.

We also have family read-a-thons occasionally. We get treats and set up a fort in the family room and read for a few hours.

I had a friend that made her children's bedtime 7pm but they could stay up until 8pm if they were reading. We don't always do this, especially in the summer when schedules can get a bit crazy, but I think it is a great idea and we do try to use it during the school year.

 Get creative! 

Come up with your own program or use one that has already been made by someone else. I have a Pinterest board that I have been posting Summer reading programs to that you can go and have a look at. See it here. 

Most of all, have fun with it.
If your kids aren't ready to read or don't feel like it at the moment, don't force it. We want them to love reading, not feel like it is a chore!

Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions or advice!


Donna said...

This is a great post with a lot of great advice. And it reminds me that we have a stack of library books due today! Sam checked out a bunch of books about snakes and John checked out some sports books. Neither of them are avid readers (yet), but like you said, it's good to let them read what interests them. We're doing a summer reading program that is sponsored by our local minor league baseball team. Sports, sports, sports is what motivates John!
I think I might get that book you recommended. I want to use it with Sam.

cheryl said...

You would love it. Just follow his lead though. Like I said, Abi wanted to do multiple lessons a day and basically ran through the whole book and was reading in no time. But Maddy just wanted to do lessons when she wanted to do them. It took a lot longer but then when she was ready to really get reading she let me know and she loves it.
It never became a chore.

Holly said...

I have always felt lucky and grateful that Emma loves reading. She reads almost every night after she goes to bed. During the school year she goes to bed at 8:00, but reads until about 9:00. During the summer she doesn't always get to bed by 8:00 (it is summer after all), but she can stay up reading as late as she wants. We've never done anything as structured as you've listed here (like the 100 book challenge etc), but I like the sound of them. We do try to remember to do the Barnes and Noble reading thing as well as reading challenges the public library has. Last summer Emma read almost all the Harry Potter books. It was fantastic. I love seeing these kiddos enjoy reading so much! You're a good mama for making it a priority with your girls!

cheryl said...

Thanks Holly! I just love it when I see kids reading, even when they are not my own. Makes me happy.
I love that Abi is so into Harry Potter. It is so fun to be able to share stories I love so much with my kids!