Summer reading is often an assignment, and for many students, it's the only reading they'll do all summer.
In my house, it's a different story. My kids will put off their required summer reading as long as possible because it comes with an assignment and often the books are not to their taste. However, reading for pleasure is a different animal altogether.
My kids and I have long lists of books we want to read someday and someday happens a lot over the summer. I'll spend a lot of evenings scolding them for staying up too late, begging them to put the book away and go to sleep and threatening to take their books and hide them so they'll rest. It's fun to read "just because".
Just because what?
Well, because the books are of their choosing. And, because there are no assignments attached. And lastly, because we will trade them around and share favorite parts out loud, talk about them on road trips and just enjoy reading for the sake of reading. That's the best part.
How did I get kids who are readers? Hard work and sneaky tactics. Here's a few of my tricks:
Card Carrying Members: Once my kids learned to read, I bough them a wallet and took them to the library for their very own library card.
Weekly Library Trips: We went to the library once a week and checked out as many books as they could carry.
Library Trick: My taught me to always pick at least on book off the shelf without looking. Sometimes they are great and sometimes they aren't worth finishing. We've found many winners the kids would never have picked out this way.
The "Stay Up Late" Trick: This was magic. Once the kids could read on their own, I gave them a good bedside reading light and permission to "stay up a little later" as long as they were going to be reading. They didn't know I was putting them to bed a little bit early. Besides, kids willingly reading is worth staying up a little late for.
Arriving Home From the Library: We would immediately sit down with snacks while I read out loud as many books as I could in 30 -60 minutes. ( Or until my mouth was too tired to say another word.)
In the Car: I never had anything for the kids to do in the car except books and Mad Libs. (comics, picture books, search and find books, read out loud joke books, puzzle books...)
At Bedtime for 2nd Graders and Up: I always chose a chapter book (preferably from a series) I thought they would enjoy and read a chapter or two out loud at bedtime. Then, I'd tell the kids not to read ahead or I'd have to catch up the next day. By the time we got a few chapters in, the kids were stealing the book and reading ahead to see what happened next (and begging for the rest of the series).
Note: If the book was a dud, I'd just quit when we decided we didn't like it and try another.
Here's my family's picks for summer reads.
On my college senior's list:
The Grunt Padre, Man's Search for Meaning and anything he can get his hands on in historical fiction around WWII (that he hasn't already read).
On my oldest daughter's list:
Classics: Pride and Prejudice and Robin Hood to start with.
On my high schooler's list:
On my middle schooler's list:
Revolution 19 Series; Artimus Fowl Series and re-reading his favs from Percy Jackson
On my youngest daughter's list:
What's on your list? Take some time to read, refresh and relax this summer.
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