Friday, August 13, 2010

I love this summer's reading program

This past summer my daughters logged many of the books they read for two separate reading programs. One was through the Barnes and Noble summer reading program and one was through the Seattle Public Library program. Each had a handful of books to read and record on a list and when the list was filled they each got a free book. So for doing nothing at all different than what we usually do, which is read a ton of books, we added four new books to our collection. And they were good books. Brand new books.

SPL had a huge assortment that included some of our favorites like Magic Tree House and Magic Rainbow books. There was everything from board books for littles up to adult novels in the bin at the library. The library put the kids' names on the wall, as well, which the girls got a kick out of.

Barnes and Noble had a specific list of books to choose from. Despite advertising that the program is for 1st-6th graders the employee there told us that Eloise could participate too.

In both cases we just got a form to fill in the books we read and then turned them in and got our free books. No questions asked, no hassle. In fact, the biggest hassle was remembering to record our read books!

I know that the idea of reading to win a prize can be a turn-off for some parents, but for us it didn't work like that at all. The girls were told at one point that if we filled in the list they would get a free book at the end, but it was never a motivation. When we finished a book the girls never asked me to put it on the list. They seemed to not care at all about the whole process, actually, until it came time to pick their free books. We read gobs and gobs of books anyways, without any promise of a prize. Getting the free books was just the icing on the cakes. I will always, always take free books for my girls! The more the merrier, right?

Certainly I consider myself lucky that I have natural, eager readers. If they weren't, however, I'm not sure if I would feel that different about coaxing them to read with the promise of a prize at the end. My hunch says, if that prize was a free book, I would be okay with that. I wouldn't coax them with candy or toys, but a chance to just read more? That sounds allright by me.

Iris just finished solo-reading her first ever chapter book. It was a Junie B. Jones book, a series we adore (and find a lot of at Goodwill, by the way!). It seems like just yesterday she was struggling through very basic reading and she quickly blossomed in to a chapter book reader.

Like I said, the more books the better. Bring 'em on!

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