Thursday, June 6, 2013

Our Summer Reading Program Returns

I hope you are enjoying my new eBook, Summer Reading Guide For Families.  If you haven't downloaded yours yet, click here to download for FREE!  I'd also love it if you would spread the word to your friends on Facebook and Twitter by passing on this message:  

I just downloaded the Summer Reading Guide For Families from Bits and Pieces From My Life. Get your free copy here:  #familyreading

This was not set up...I promise!
Last year we decided not to participate the library's summer reading program.  At one local library, the reading program had turned more game-focused than book-focused.  Our other local library was swinging the other direction and critiquing my children if they read books deemed too easy for them! Instead we began our own Summer Reading Program at home.  It was such a hit that we are doing it again this year. 

We start by setting weekly goals.  Each child had a say in what was reasonable, but Mama and Daddy got the final say to make sure no one was getting off too easily!  After much discussion, we settled on time goals this year instead of counting finished books.  This prevents a child from skimming through a book just to earn a prize and it ensures that difficult books will be savored even if they take awhile to get through.  Each child must earn six check marks each week (one check mark for each block of time) to earn a prize from the special prize basket.  By the end of our eleven-week summer break, each child should have earned 66 check marks! 

Brian upped the ante this year, promising that any child who earned 75 check marks would be entitled to a bigger end-of-summer prize.  About that prize basket...I keep it stocked with cheap toys and small pieces of candy or gum.  Last year I started with a bag of pinata filler and added a few more things throughout the summer.  This year Walmart had a large section of their birthday party favors on clearance so I stocked up for less than $10.  I put in things like lip gloss, erasers, slider puzzles, bracelets, and mini whoopie cushions.  On Friday morning, each child who has earned their check marks can choose one thing from the basket. 

The fun thing about all this is that we can still participate in the many activities our libraries offer. This year we plan to go to a juggling show, meet some minor league baseball players, take a Junior Robotics Lego class, and go to a preschool craft workshop.  Fun without the stress and pressure of book logs!

Do you participate in a summer reading program at your library?


  1. We participated last year, but we won't be this year, at least not on a weekly basis. The weekly prizes last year were either things our kids can't have (chocolate cookies, etc.) or junk that broke the first time the kids played with them. Also, since we don't officially have any readers in our home, it was simply more work for me to do.

    We may spread the activities out over the summer and collect our book prizes at the very end (those were the only prizes we really liked anyways).

    I like the idea of having your own summer reading program, but I think we'll hold off until we have more readers...unless, of course, I get a prize for reading to them :)

  2. The last time we participated in the library program, we didn't even like the books we got at the end. :-( Most of the books to choose from were not books I thought were appropriate for my kids. A few years ago-- the first year we did our own program-- I didn't do a weekly thing, but I told the kids if they read or were read to all summer, Brian and I would buy each of them a book. I gave them a bunch of choices and each child got to pick 1 that they would like to own. It cost about $25-30 (which was hard to do since I like to get my books for 25 cents!), but the kids loved it and it was worth the cost!

  3. I've never thought of doing a summer reading program on my own ! We did the library thing with my older three, and a few times with the younger three.

    Lately we haven't done it at all. We just read! My girls are all big readers, usually I have to tell them to put the book down.

    Kyle, who is almost 8, would probably love some incentives! I'll have to give it some thought!


  4. Our library held it's kickoff tonight. Our library is at the end of our road in our small town, so it is a fun summer event. I admit to being disappointed in the last few years. I am not sure if it is the change in our children's librarians or a lack of funds, but there is a definite change. Thankfully my girls are readers regardless! We just participate in the events that interest us, and the location is very convenient!


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