School is almost out, which signals the return of Summer Reading programs. If you are in Nashville, the NPL Summer Challenge has already started and runs through August 15. This year they have SO many ways to earn points for both kids and grownups! You even get points just for registering (online only). Once you reach 25 points you get to select your ticket (for children) or coupon (for adults) to a local attraction. Make it to 50 points and get a book bag plus an extra entry into the Grand Prize drawing.
Last Monday, we stopped by our local branch and tLG got her very own library card. It was quite the milestone. She checked out 14 books and a Playaway that included 4 books. By Tuesday, she had completed all 18 books and was asking what time the library opened the following day. I literally could not stop her from reading. I suppose there are worse problems to have, right?! She was checking off points on her activity log left and right. She has her heart set on a ticket to Wave Country! Girl after my own heart.
Reading teaches vocabulary more than talking, listening or direct teaching.
Reading substantially boosts general knowledge while decreasing the likelihood that misinformation will be absorbed.
Reading helps keep our memory and reasoning abilities intact as we age.
Sometimes, as a homeschool mom, I worry that my eclectic approach is causing my child to fall behind her peers. And then I remember that the whole reason we are homeschooling is not to keep up with the Joneses. I’ve let go of the reading-level mentality and have turned my focus towards striving to develop a love for reading in our home.
Flashback. tLG started reading at age 4 using this program and has continued to excel, rather easily in my opinion. When I withdrew her from public school she was a first grader reading on a third grade level. Therefore, I was checking out short chapter books because I knew they were on her level of difficulty. I was also checking out non-fiction books based on whatever we were studying or she happened to have mentioned she was interested in that week. It was my way of strewing. Over time reading suddenly became a chore. I was getting the “how much do I have to read today?” comments. She was reading the bare minimum and then she was done. Like, D-O-N-E, and moving on.
I think daily reading is important but I also think it should be fun and enjoyable. After all, I’m trying to grow a life-long reader here. So, I gave her a pass on reading for a while and I started reading to her again. I picked up a copy of Because of Winn Dixie (she loves dogs) and I would read a chapter to her at bedtime. If the story was really getting good and she asked for another chapter, I happily obliged. On some level this was a stall tactic but I didn’t care. She was listening and that’s what mattered. We’ve now moved on to Charlotte’s Web and I can’t decide who likes our new bedtime routine better, her or me. Plus, she snuggles up to me so I’m not planning to put a stop to this anytime soon. 😉
Then, I went back to getting her picture books from the library. I started with books with minimal words, like the books we read to her as a toddler; quick, fast, and catchy! She breezed through them, of course. The next week I got picture books again, some super easy and some with a couple of lines of text on each page. The third week I mixed in some more challenging books with the picture books and, by this point, she was hooked again. She read 13 books in one day and was begging for more. Score for Mommy! That’s when I decided to get her a library card as an additional incentive to keep reading. And that brings us up to date with where we are now, kicking off the the #nplsummer reading program.
Today we were back at the library checking out another 30 books on her brand new card. I’m hoping those can at least hold us over until the weekend. Doubt it considering she read 2 on the way home. God bless the library and free books!
Do you have other ideas for encouraging kids to be life long readers? Share them with me in the comments.