The weather is gorgeous outside, no?
The sun rays and breeze makes me want to chill in a hammock with a good book. How about you?
Well, it’s the time of year as student wind down. Teachers are packing up their classrooms, students are ready to hit the beach, and many are planning their summer vacations.
But what about continuing their education?
Betty, seriously, girlfriend. It’s summer time. Relax and rejuvenate.
Let me tell you how you can have summer fun, while continuing the education mojo from the school year.
Summer Reading Programs!
Now summer reading programs differ from region to region, and I will share with you places that we go:
We are huge Barnes and Noble fans. We’ve been going to the same Barnes since Piano Man was born. The ladies known him since he was about a year old. Doesn’t that tell you how much we enjoy going to Barnes?
Every summer, Barnes and Noble offers a reading program. Kids can write down their list of books and turn it in to get a book (from their reading program list) for free. In past years, each child would have to read 8 books and turn in the form. Last year, Piano Man picked up an Amulet book (free from summer reading program). Then we bought the other six books to complete his collection.
This year’s program works a little differently. Your child will write down four titles and the author’s name based off a set of questions listed on the form. However, the sales associate mentioned that you can write down any four books to receive credit.
While I am surprised to see a shorter number of books required this year, I think it will help encourage young readers to accomplish their goals and read a free book. And isn’t that the point of reading? To encourage young minds and read more?
Baker Book House is probably my all-time favorite summer reading program. This local book store encourages the length of time a child reads, not based on the number of books or pages. It is also the most rewarding. Combine a Baker Book House in-store coupon with their summer reading rewards, our kids can get the most bang for their buck. Our boys have been able to purchase books, puzzles, and activity sets in one transaction.
And all of these items encourage their minds to grow.
This year, Baker Book House is offering a huge rewards to major reading enthusiasts. If your child reads 100+ hours of reading, he/she will receive a $50 gift certificate to use on anything in the store! That is huge compared to past years!
Our little Linus who is a much younger reader will probably work towards a $20 gift certificate, which requires a goal of 40 hours of reading.
Here’s another favorite local bookstore in Grand Rapids. Schuler’s program is for readers who in K-8, which I am thrilled that Linus can finally participate. The way this summer reading program works is by reading based on the total number of pages you read. They reward the reader for reading 200+ pages in a book (for older readers). For younger readers, you can read 20 books, like the older reading program pamphlet form, but without the 200+ page bonus.
Every month (June, July, and August), your child will get $5 to use in the store. You can use it every month, or save it until the end of the summer to combine the rewards up to $15. Be sure to check the dates on when the forms are due to ensure you can use the rewards.
You can read more about Schuler’s Summer Reading Program here.
4. Your Local Library
We have two libraries in our hometown. The Kent District Library (KDL) and the Grand Rapids Public Library (GRPL).
This year, you can sign up online and keep track of your reading log virtually. Or you can print or stop by your local branch and pick up a printed form. Since I like hardcopies, I will stop by and pick up their forms, plus pick up a few new kid-friendly books.
How to Get Your Kids Into Summer Reading
Now that you know about some of the cool summer reading programs available, how do you encourage your kids to meet their summer reading goals?
Here are some practical ways and one super fab idea (shared at the end of my list) to encourage your kids:
1. Set realistic goals.
Nothing takes the fun out of reading, if kids are pushed into reading. If you’ve got a younger reader, say, “Okay, for week one, we will read 5 or 10 minutes Monday through Friday.” Then take a break on the weekends. When he or she has accomplished that goal, you can up the minutes the following week and so on.
2. Find genres/books that interest your reader.
Linus is into astronauts. Maybe it’s because of Benny from The LEGO Movie, who knows? So we started reading about astronauts and the cool stuff one does to become an astronaut. Then we picked up other LEGO-related books. Now it’s all about Star Wars….of course!
3. Dedicate a space as a reading nook for your reader.
Throw pillows and baskets to hold those fab library books can be a visual reminder to read in his/her favorite spot. Plus, it just makes it fun to have a spot all on your own just for reading, yes?
4. Host a reading marathon party!
This has got to be the best idea ever. One of Piano Man’s friend’s mom hosts a reading marathon at her house. Her boys can stay up as long as they want reading books! She gets their favorite snacks and drinks, and their favorite books set up. After dinner, the kids and even her stay up reading together. They laugh and talk about funny story lines, and snack away –
And the next day, she hands them a certificate for reading.
I’ve been waiting for Linus to become a self-reader, and I can’t wait to be having these kinds of reading parties with my boys.
My Personal Take
I can tell you, these summer reading programs are nothing like the ones I had when I was kid. I remember the days when I had to get 50 stickers and then I get my name certificate plastered on the wall for completing the program.
Nowadays, commercial businesses, like Barnes and Baker Book House, offer financial incentives. You can get a free book or get -store credit to make a purchase the store. Others like your local library may offer a small goodie bag or even a free book, depending on public funding available in your city.
Go ahead, stop by your local bookstore or local library. Take a break from the heat, curl up with a good book, imagine away, and get your mind sharp in the process.
What other places in your hometown offer a summer reading program incentive?
Share in the comments below!
From my hometown to yours,