One of my very favorite memories from my childhood is walking to the library every summer to sign up for the Summer Reading Program. We would bring our wagon and load it up with books to explore all summer long.
When my first daughter was born, I couldn’t wait to sign her up for the program. At nine months old, I don’t think she quite understood the concept. In fact she ended up chewing through her entry card, but I digress.
We read her books all summer long and took her each week to collect her prizes. We probably enjoyed it more than her that first summer, but she has a fierce love for reading now and I know each year she will become more and more invested.
Many parents that I meet don’t take advantage of all the wonderful things that our libraries offer, especially the Summer Reading Program. The former teacher in me always wants to ask, why not?
Why not give your child a fun incentive to bury themselves in books all summer?
Why not encourage your child to develop a life-long love for reading?
Why not help your child set and achieve goals?
I know that after a long school year, many kids just want a break. This is why reading in the summertime should be strictly for fun. Encourage your kids to pick out books about anything that interests them. There are no rules for the summer! If your child is old enough to read independently, make sure that whatever book your child chooses, it is at an appropriate reading level.
The “five finger test” is an easy and quick way to make sure your child will be able to enjoy the book they selected. Just have your child flip to a random page and read it aloud. If they struggle with a word or don’t understand it’s meaning more than five times, they aren’t ready to read that book independently (although you can definitely still read it aloud to them).
Especially for the summertime, you want to aim for a book that will be easy for your child to read independently so they won’t become frustrated. Reading books that interest them and are at an appropriate reading level will foster your child’s love for reading faster than anything else.
Not only does the library offer fun prizes for summer reading, but they also host a variety of events for the whole family to enjoy. Last summer, our local library brought in exotic animals and even a traveling musical group. They offer bilingual story times throughout the year and a family game night.
The library has so much to offer for people of all ages. Infants through teenagers are invited to participate and collect a variety of prizes throughout the summer. If you are lucky, your library might even have a program for adults. Last year my husband and I signed up for the adult Summer Reading Program and won a free lunch at a local sandwich shop.
I hope that this summer you will decide to utilize this fun program. Depending on your local library, the program will begin sometime in early June.
If you take advantage of your local libraries this Summer, tag #SDmomsblog and #SDMBreader so we can follow your adventures!