Thursday, May 1, 2014

Home Summer Reading Program

There are many organized summer reading programs available in most communities.  Public libraries, schools, camps and churches often have some version to promote reading for fun over the school breaks.
Want more than what is offered through formal reading programs or facing reluctant participants? Or maybe you are travelling but still want a way to keep those young minds active.  Adjust existing programs or customize your own home program for your kids to match their needs and challenge their range. The following idea comes from the Create Your Own Summer Reading Program By Laureen Miles Brunelli as posted on Work-At-Home Moms
You could do a similar summer reading program, making it more or less complicated.
  • I created a spreadsheet with a column for the weeks of the summer and a row across the top with each child’s name.
  • I created prize card with rewards like:
    • Get out of dishes free
    • 30 minutes computer, Wii or TV time during "non-electronic time"
    • 1 song from iTunes
    • Trip to the dog park (Mom and Dad, but not the pooch, grew weary of this one!)
    • Stay up late
    • Sleep in late

  • Kids earn one point for each page read. We entered the number of pages read by each kid every few days. (It was an honor system, but on a separate page I kept track of the titles and the last page read to head off any exaggerations or confusion.) Kids could also earn bonus points when they finished a book, worked on summer homework or listened to an audiobook.
  • On Sundays we awarded first- and second-place prizes to the kids who had the most points, letting them choose from the prize cards. And if everyone had earned at least 150 points, we went out for ice cream.
  • I set both short- and long-term prizes to keep interest in the program from waning midsummer. I awarded weekly, monthly and a grand prize. The monthly prizes were drawings for toys, gift cards and other item valued at about $10. Kids earned entries into the drawings when they read 100 pages or finished a book. So even the third place weekly winner, four weeks running had a shot at the monthly prize.
  • The person with the most points at the end of the summer won a cash prize. And we all ordered pizza and celebrated ourselves too.
Track the kids progress and keep the program fresh by creating a visual space.  Post book titles, achievements, library due dates, reaction papers, etc.   Get the whole family involved and create a spot from Mom, Dad and grandparents too!

Remember that reading is not just about  books.  Count magazines, newspapers, graphic novels, fiction and non-fiction.

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