Summer Reading Rewards

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.

6 thoughts on “Summer Reading Rewards

  1. Have you and your boys discovered any more great graphic novels? I’ve read through your archives for previous recommendations, but I would love some more if you have any! The graphic novel selection at our local library is pretty slim, so I don’t have any good place to browse for treasures. Thanks!

    And, I know what you mean about these summer reading programs. I signed my boys up last weekend and now they’re just devouring books! My ds8 is determined to read all the 39 Clues books (he’s finishing #5 now), and ds5 is reading Henry and Mudge.

    1. We’ve read several more, but nothing I’ve been especially impressed with. The kids thought Stone Rabbit was okay. And they like Squish so much (the third one is out now) that they started reading Babymouse some. And they said that the first of The Elsewhere Chronicles were just so so. Have you seen Missile Mouse? Or some of the reworkings of Kibuishi’s Flight series for younger readers? We liked Flight Explorer and I don’t think I ever blogged about that.

      1. We have seen Missile Mouse (deemed okay by mine) but haven’t seen The Elsewhere Chronicles or the Flight series. Thank you!

  2. I brought home Spiderwick for my son and couldn’t interest him. Tried the first Unfortunate Events book, Dragonslayers Academy, and How to Train Your Dragon… same thing. He just wants to read Bone over and over again. He did reread Ivy + Bean and a thin Star Wars chapter book, but otherwise we’re stuck in a “below level” rut here, too.

  3. By the way, thank you SO much for recommending Zita the Spacegirl and Rapunzel’s Revenge for Alex! They were huge hits. 🙂 She’s looking forward to trying your other recommendations.

  4. Congrats on the reading spree! I’m going with my 6 yr-old son tomorrow to the library and will have him sign up for the summer reading. I want him to select himself and am keeping my fingers crossed for some books that will spark his interest.

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