About this time of year I have no more super planning power. I am drained of all great ideas. The last thing I want to think about is a summer reading program! But I can tell you the years we did not participate in one, the boys were in more trouble, complained of boredom, and had no interest in reading when school “started” back again. Plan for your summer reading program sooner than later!
Summer Reading Program, How do I find one?
Check out the large “chain” bookstores in your area. Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, etc. offer summer reading activities and rewards. Be sure to note – most of these opportunities do not require you to purchase the books from the store, Only that the books read are documented and signed by a parent.
Summer Reading Program, Small Town
If you do not approve of the book lists from these big book stores, check with a smaller locally owned bookstore. If they are not promoting a fun reading challenge, suggest it! Be sure to check with your local library. Naturally they are going to encourage summer reading. The prizes might be small.
Summer Reading Program, How do I create one?
If you’re looking to do your own thing, then create one! Get with your homeschool, neighborhood, or church friends and create a list of books to read over the summer. Rather than reward with prizes offer to host a Sundae Bar party for all participants. Maybe pick one book from your list and rent the movie!
Summer Reading Program, at a slower pace!
My youngest son is just starting to read The Magic Tree House all on his own. We found the website to print a cute little “book passport”. Every book he finishes he takes a quick quiz and then is rewarded a stamp for his passport. This is super easy and convenient for the times we can’t find the next book in order but find a different one in the same series. I do not have to create anything, but help him turn on the laptop for the quiz. Another online “virtual rewards” program is Scholastic Summer Reading.
Summer Reading Program Tips:
1. Be aware of scams. If you have to pay a ginormous amount of fees to participate in return for rewards being shipped to you … at a later date – pass.
2. Be aware of dates. Some summer reading programs started early May! Others begin early June. Be aware of deadlines so you can get those rewards before Christmas!
3. Keep your children honest. One son, who will go unnamed, tried to cash in on a few extra reading hours, but could not tell me the simple plot. If your children are competitive just keep an eye out that they’re really reading.
4. Create a fun reading environment. If you have a picnic blanket, create a fort. Get new bean bag chairs. Create a special spot everyone enjoys reading.
5. Set the example that reading is important and unplug for a bit each night to read together.
The years I enjoyed reading with my boys were much better than when I freaked out about deadlines and even skipped the pool to finish a book for a check mark.
Enjoy summer. Enjoy reading. Enjoy your children!
Stef Layton lives in Orlando, Florida homeschooling two tactile learners. Stef is the Hands-On Learning Columnist for Homeschooling Today magazine. This year she started showing hands-on activities on youtube. You can follow her at her blog or, Instagram, or Twitter @StefMLayton.