We always participate in our library's summer reading program. It's not because the prizes are so awesome, or because we don't have anything else to do in the summer. It's not because my kids hate reading and need the push to read, nor is it because they love reading and can't get enough of it. Some of my kids are avid readers, some are average readers, and some do avoid reading. Most of them have found a genre or topic that interests them and are average readers. A couple are avid readers.
We join the summer reading program because it gives us a nice flow to our summer. It helps us have something to do besides sit around and whine about being hot or bored. It gives us a break from chores. It's someplace to go each week, and it helps my average readers and book-avoiders find new genres to explore. The push to meet a goal or get a weekly prize (no matter how small) helps them try something new.
It's the summer reading program that has taken my fledgling-struggling readers and turned them into fluent readers. It's the summer reading program that has taken my book-avoiding hands-on son and turned him into an actual reader. He used to avoid books, hated reading, and never finished a chapter book. Now he enjoys reading books that are age-appropriate, and has read through several series that captured his attention. He's still a finicky reader. It has to be of great interest to him, but he reads!
This summer, my struggling 7 year old has made so much progress with her reading. Today she read the entire Storybook Treasury of Dick and Jane to herself. That is 3 Dick and Jane books in one cover. She also read several smaller books to herself and finished a story she started yesterday that I thought might be too hard.
Yesterday I told her, "Don't EVER tell me that you CAN'T read again! You are reading, and you're doing a great job! Keep practicing and it will get easier and easier."
She has goals. There are books she wants to be able to read, but she still has a few steps she needs to conquer before she's ready. But she'll get there! This Fall, we'll get our Book-It coupons and I'll help her set monthly goals for that, as well. But that doesn't compare to the reading progress we see in summer when there are no other subjects to compete with reading.
Today I got a little bit teary hearing her read to herself. I am so proud of her! And I'm so thankful for the summer reading program at our library, and our librarians! We are blessed with a great bunch of librarians who love kids and love inspiring them to read!