When I was a young girl, one thing that would always excite me about the summertime was the Summer Reading Challenge at my local library. Right after school ended, my local library would start up their summer reading program and I LOVED it! You would always pick a certain number of books that you thought you could read throughout the summer and the goal was to make sure you “hit” that number by late August. Every Wednesday afternoon we would “report” to the library to log in the book(s) we read that week. I literally used to love, love, love that program. I think I read every Nancy Drew book one summer! I did that summer reading program for years… and it’s something that I look back at and just am so happy that my parents encouraged me and my siblings to take part in it. It was my parents that fueled my love of reading and showed me how much fun losing myself in a book could be!
I’m trying to do the same for my 5 children, especially my 4 older, independent reading sons.
Reading is something that I love to see them do. It makes me smile. It makes me happy. It’s important for them to get lost with the characters and immerse themselves into the plot of the book. Books bring children to far away places and allow them to “meet” and “play” with all different kinds of people. Reading is a key that opens the door to so many far off places. What I love about summer reading is that you can read for pure enjoyment. You don’t have to worry about doing a project after the book has ended. You don’t have to worry about reporting the numbers of pages you’ve read. You don’t have to worry about picking a book that will be approved by your teacher. According to the Kids & Family Reading Report, 5th edition, 91% of kids (ages 6-17) say that their favorite books are the ones they pick out themselves.
You can read whatever interests you and what speaks to you… this is what I love about reading in the summer.
Last year my 2 older sons joined the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge and they loved it! This year, I’m doing the same with all 4 of my sons! Now in its 9th year, the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is a free online reading program dedicated to stopping the “summer slide” by encouraging kids to read throughout the summer months when school is out. This year’s challenge theme is “Power Up & Read,” powered by ENERGIZER®.
You know, summer is all about having fun and sleeping late, no homework and not worrying about getting to the bus stop on time, but kids can fall prey to the “summer slide.” This is something I definitely want to avoid, especially having sons that are 7, 8, 9 and 10. I don’t want them experience the common loss of skills due to being out of school because they’re not reading over the summer. Believe it or not, research shows that teachers spend four to six weeks re-teaching materials to students because of the “summer slide.” Summer truly is the perfect time for a child to discover the power of choice.
This summer I’m encouraging my friends to get their children involved, too. The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge started May 4th and will go through September 4th this year. The beauty is that your kids can log their reading minutes (online and via mobile) as they read their books. One HUGE goal this year is to break last year’s world record of 304,749,861 minutes! My sons William and Alex are GIDDY about trying to break this record! They think it’s the coolest thing to try and do! Your kids can also enter monthly sweepstakes to win fabulous prizes, and earn digital rewards when they complete weekly reading challenges. It really is a fun and engaging activity to have your kids do throughout the summer to keep them excited about reading. Not to mention, it’s FREE! Parents can sign-up their kids at www.scholastic.com/summer.
Most important for me, too – there’s things for parents. The parents site features new, daily tips for parents called “The Daily Digest.” It’s a wonderful way to keep yourself updated on things that I can be doing to help reading time in my house and also suggestions from experts. I love having this parents outlet to head to and get great advice. Parents can also enter weekly sweepstakes to win a “Power Up & Read Kit” and watch videos about summer reading activities to keep you “innovative” all summer long. The prize pack includes: Scholastic tote bag, water bottle, a copy of Reading Unbound by Jeffrey Wilhelm and Michael Smith, $10 gift certificate to Scholastic Store Online, Energizer® brand batteries, Scholastic books, and more. Another added bonus, parents can download free resources, including printables and booklists for kids of all ages.
If you’re not a newbie this year with the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, you’ll be happy to hear that there’s some new things for the kids this year! Kids can unlock 12 original short stories (exclusively for this year’s challenge) from favorite children’s authors and access never-before-seen videos from the authors! Each of the authors (Blue Balliett, Patrik Henry Bass, Varian Johnson, Gordon Korman, Michael Northtrop, Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pierce, Roland Smith, R.L. Stine, Tui T. Sutherland, Lauren Tarshis, Wendy Wan-Long Shang and Jude Watson) has written a unique short story using the same opening sentence, which is, “I glanced over my shoulder to make sure that no one had followed me into the shadowy library, then took a deep breath and opened the glowing book… ” Each story has a “read along” audio component, inviting kids of all ages and reading levels to enjoy these highly engaging stories. I love this for my Henry and Benjamin. They’re readers, but they’re not as strong as the older guys yet!
They can play the new “innovation machine” game, an interactive creative writing game, and enter its contest to win prizes. Kids can log minutes on-the-go to earn digital rewards and badges as they hit reading milestones.
From this mom, I’m telling you – this is an exceptional thing to do with your kids this summer!
Love it, Scholastic!
Sign up for the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge
Find more Scholastic Resources to keep your kids reading all summer long!
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