We went to the library and I let the kids sign up for summer reading last week. I also made them pick mounds and mounds of books. Nearly everything they picked was below their reading level. We now have tons of Tintin, Lunch Lady, Stone Rabbit, Araminta Spookie and even an A to Z Mysteries title, which is a series BalletBoy first read part of nearly two years ago. The one challenge was that Mushroom picked up the first Spiderwick book, which is probably right at his reading level or a slight stretch.
Come fall we’ll start doing a little bit of required reading along with self-selected reading, so I’m not worried. Also, I’m mindful of the need to practice and build fluency. Plus, there’s all that evidence that letting kids self-select books for summer reading helps a lot more than providing them with quality literature. Take that, twaddle-callers.
I’m not usually for rewards programs, but as I’ve said before, I’m not going to prevent my kids from participating in them. Last year, the library’s reward for summer reading was free donuts from a chain donut store if you read at least an hour. This year, there are apparently cheapie prizes for reading for three hours and if you read for eight hours then you’ll get entered into a contest to win a free e-reader. It’s like winning a bill for more books.
The kids came home so fired up to read that they proceeded to read for a shocking three and a half hours in the twenty-four hours following signing up. They do read for pleasure almost daily, but it tends to be more in the half hour to an hour at most range. And maybe that Spiderwick book wasn’t much of a stretch for Mushroom, as he read nearly the whole thing in one day, along with several graphic novels.
Sigh. Kids, you’re proving the reward givers right. Cut it out.