Do you ever feel disillusioned with the library's summer reading program? At our old library, most of the required activities (to earn prizes) had nothing to do with reading at all. Last year, we participated in the program at our new library, but the children's librarian critiqued the books my kids had read. "Hmmm...don't you think that book is too easy for you now?" she asked my fledgling reader. To top it all off, I am too lazy to remember to write down every book that my kids read. Sure, the older ones can physically do it themselves, but we all know how that goes.
Still, when I mentioned not doing the reading program at all, my kids were disappointed as this has been a highlight of past summers. We decided, instead, to create our own summer reading program with our own goals, incentives, and prizes. One of the reasons we homeschool is to learn to know our own children and their needs so this summer reading program tailored to their individual abilities makes sense. For Gavin (who is 9 and a good, but reluctant, reader), each time he finishes a chapter book, he can choose a prize. For Maddie and Owen (who are 7 and 5 and gaining reading confidence), the goal will be more time oriented than book oriented. After they spend a designated amount of time reading and tell me about what they've read, they can earn a prize. For Benjamin and Alaine (who are 3 and 1 and love to be read to), they can pick a prize each Friday.
With five children, I needed this to be economical so I'm starting with a big bag of pinata fillers. I plan to add to our stash over the summer so the kids don't get tired of the same surprises. My goal is get as much as I can for $1 a week so the Target dollar section and the Goodwill will be my friend. Brian has mentioned the idea of taking everyone out for ice cream at the end of our family summer reading program. I think everyone wins with that plan!