Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Reading For All

We've been doing our summer schedule for almost a week now, and we're just about getting used to it. The girls aren't having a "crammed with camps" summer, but they're also not having a "do nothing" summer, and that's an adjustment for me. Madison has some sort of activity every day - a 30 minute sports clinics or a swimming lesson, and she's in an intensive dance program that mimics her school year commitment. Reagan is taking lessons for the first time, and she's keeping up with her gymnastics as well.

This is all great. Madison is thrilled to be back to dancing, and I love that they're outside daily in the pool or on the tennis court, but it is definitely busy. We're not keeping up with the school schedule we had over the year, and the girls are crashing at night, often before I even make it out of the room. When we do have down time, they're reaching for the iPads. Most of those games are educational, but they're not exactly what I'd like them to be doing with their time.

So yesterday Madison and I went through her room and made two piles of books. A pile that she can read to me, and a pile that I can read to her.

It's fascinating what she put in the pile that I read to her. About a year ago I started reading the Little House books with Madison. We started with Little House in the Big Woods, and we read right through, stopping after The Long Winter (when Laura was a bit more grown up). After we stopped a few months ago, we moved into some other novels.

So it was surprising to me that in addition to the Rainbow Fairy and Never Girls and Magic Treehouse books that we've had sitting on the shelf, Madison added Little House in the Big Woods right back to the pile. I love that she's already found the pleasure in re-reading an old friend, finding new things she missed the first time, getting excited as she anticipates her favorite parts.

Both girls are still at an age where they tear through their books at various times during the day, and we save the majority of the read aloud time for bed. But this summer, I think this might be our down time during the day - the moments when we need to sit in the shade and take a break from the running and swimming and dancing - instead of at night, when they can't keep their eyes open to listen to an entire chapter.


Kids definitely get their ideas about reading from their parents. I love that Madison is discovering great books she wants to read again and again, but I don't know that she ever would have grabbed any of these Little House books on her own. I'm thrilled that the National PTA is kicking off a Family Reading Challenge. During July, the National PTA will help families with tips and activities to encourage families reading together. They're challenging parents to share photos, videos and memories that demonstrate how reading is a fun and important family activity all year round - not because you have to read, but because reading is something enjoyable to do.

We're definitely in. I love taking a little relaxing time after lunch to get into some reading with both girls before we head back to the pool or the tennis court or the dance studio. Want to join us? Find out more at PTA Reading Challenge.

  • 61% of low-income families in the U.S. have no age-appropriate books in their homes for children.
  • Good reading habits have a greater impact on a child’s reading skills than household income.
  • Nearly 40% of parents say their child does not spend enough time reading for fun.
  • 73% of children get ideas from their parents for books to read for fun.
  • Where parent engagement is high, classrooms score 28 points above the national average.
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