In the beginning, there was the word.
The word came in the form of Richard Scary’s What Do People Do All Day?
It evolved into The Aristocats (I also owned the LP record for my wee orange record player). I must have read that book and listened to those songs a hundred times tucked away in the quiet of my bedroom closet which I transformed into my very personal 7-year-old reading nook.
Then, I found The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and I knew—reading was my thing.
No one really had to guess what I was going to be when I grew up, words stuck to me and with me.
I became the girl that reads everything.
Now, about two weeks before the end of school each year, my notorious book nerd status earns me about a billion conversations with other moms about how to keep the reading love (or at least requirement) going over the 10-week break about to descend upon us.
They know the Summer brain drain is real (seriously, kids lose so much when skills are not applied, like getting all flabby after not exercising for 2.5 months). However, getting most kids to read is exasperating at the best of times. When the sun is out, the pool is calling, vacation keeps them from any sort of normal routine, and parents are checking off the days until they can return their children to the care of saintly teachers, getting kids to read is, well, ya know . . .
Reading is pretty much the number one Summer brain activity.
It’s a great way to chill out, ground after a long flight, stay busy on a car trip, cool off in the tent with while camping. It’s a fantastic way to explore the world right around you (by parents grabbing some content-specific books before heading out on a trip or a day activity).
I supplement my kids’ learning all the time without them even knowing it by passing along guide books or identification books. They get storybooks on owls and fairies. I slip a fiction novel into their backpack, knowing they will love it once they’ve gotten over that their phone doesn’t work in the wilderness.
There are lots of ways to slip the reading in this Summer.
In terms of dedicated “reading” time, I’d tell you to go all free range and let them read what they want, join the library Summer reading club, or stuff like that. Let’s get real, though. Free range means they read Archie comics all Summer—fun, but not brain food. Summer reading club at the library is, well, usually not effective because we, the parents, are lousy at getting our kids to the ACTUAL library.
However, reading groups that give a few dedicated hours a week to discussing literature are a great way to make sure your kids are getting their brain food. In my writing groups, we are jumping into Summer reading love too.
This year, all of my writing groups are going to get down to business with some serious reading through Summer reading challenges. I had them pick the genres and “approve” the books we’d read in each group over the next 10 weeks.
Then, they get started and read until their faces fall off. 🙂
I’m not monitoring their reading in the sense that we are not doing weekly quizzes. However, they will have to know the books to make the art, write the stories, create poetry, go on scavenger hunts, and write vocabulary songs. They earn points all Summer, not just for reading, but for all of the other goodness too.
And, they are competing against the other classes for a pizza party at the end of the Summer.
Yep. It’s a little extra work on my part. However, I can report that even my most reluctant readers are totally into this Summer challenge.
If you are in Vancouver and want to get in on one of the reading challenges, CONTACT ME and I will hook you up.
Otherwise, I wanted to spread the Summer Reading Challenge love and share the reading lists I’ve developed. You can download them by clicking on the links.
HAPPY SUMMER READING!