Summer is such a wonderful time for relaxing by the pool, spending time with the kids, and eating ice cream. Unless you live in the real world where your kids demand to eat 15 times a day, whine when you make them go outside, and refuse to do anything "educational." About three weeks after school ends all of your great ideas and patience go out the window and chaos quickly follows.
In our house, we have tons of books. We have Kindles for the big kids. We have a great Overdrive account thanks to the Army. We have so many opportunities to read! And this is one area where we are actually sticking to the plan.
What we aren't doing.
We aren't doing any summer reading programs this year. Or any checklists, or any "you must read for 20 minutes a day" things. We are simply encouraging our kids to read whatever they want, pretty much whenever they want.
Yes, we limit their electronic time. Yes, we say, "You can play Xbox after you read." I keep a running wish list on the Overdrive for them, and each time they finish a book, I get them a new one.
We are lucky; they like to read. I like to read. We all like to read. So reading in the summer is fun.
What are they reading?
One of the questions I get from other parents is, what are they reading? Isn't it hard to find books to keep their attention? Do you worry about them reading on grade level or making sure the books are appropriate to them?
In short, yes, I spent a lot of time worrying that my kids, who are above grade level in so many ways, were reading the "right" books. And then I got over it. They are reading. Willingly reading. Excitedly reading. That's all that matters.
Gregory, age 2, happily oblivious to all school things
Loves: trucks, food, and dog
Favorite books: Abi's Princess Bible, Piggy & Elephant books, and Hungry Bunny.
Will occasionally sit through a whole book but prefers to turn the pages randomly.
Declan, age 10, heading into 5th Grade
Loves: video games, sports, and silly YouTube videos
Favorite series: Percy Jackson, I Survived, and Jack Stalwart
He likes to read books randomly, even those in a series.
What I want to do more.
Back to the idea of a perfect world, where we'd sit around the table for dinner every night, all 5 of us and take long family walks on Sunday afternoons. I want to spend more time reading with my kids, reading out loud to them, all of us piled in the big bed reading. But it just isn't happening.
Instead, we listen to books in the car. We like to listen to How to Train Your Dragon, narrated by Peter Tennent. We like to listen to podcasts, particularly Dave Ramsey. We like to talk about what we're reading. And eventually, I'll figure out how/when to read more to them. Or not. Maybe we'll just all keep reading and call it good.
What are your kids reading this summer?