Guilty Confession: I don’t hate the library, per se, but I might believe that the library hates me.
Our branch is always crowded and loud and I struggle mightily to find the books we’re looking for. I used to try and do the right, the expected, the moral thing, and take my children to the library regularly. But then I realized that we could just go to the Scholastic Warehouse Sale twice a year, stock up on books for super cheap, and never have to enter the doors of the place that so overwhelms me.
…Except for the summertime, when my kids absolutely expect to participate in the Summer Reading Program.
Okay maybe I do hate the library. Or actually maybe it’s my own laziness.
Summer Reading Programs are great. Really. But oh my goodness they’re so much work with the app changing every year and the tracking type changing and also papers that you have to bring in and you have to come every week or it doesn’t count and the suspicious looks that the librarian gives me if Ali reads too many pages.
The last couple of summers we’ve started out with good intentions, but it doesn’t take long for us to fall off the radar of those weekly check-in visits and then sometime in October the kids say “Hey, whatever happened to our Summer Reading? Do we have any more rewards we can get?”
(Okay clearly it’s my fault and not the library’s. But you gotta work with what you got.)
So this year I decided to do my own Summer Reading Program.
No Libraries Needed!
No Suspicious Librarians!!!
No App Passwords that you don’t remember from last year, only to find out that they’re using a new app!
AND the kids are responsible for all their own paperwork and no one will complain about their handwriting!!
It’s going swimmingly well, so I decided to share it here, with the thought that some of you may already find yourself flagging in your library visits and needing a new way to motivate your poor libraryless children.
It’s simple, it’s been quite motivating, and it’s given the kids some summer structure, which is something they’re always craving.
Here were my steps in implementation:
1. I suspended allowance for the summer – they normally get $5 a week.
2. I replaced it with Mom’s Summer Reading Program, giving them the opportunity to earn up to $10 a week.
3. I made a simple tracking spreadsheet that included…
A. What they had to accomplish every day to earn their alotted iPad time (this doesn’t really have to do with Summer Reading but ya gotta stay on top of chores somehow)
B. The tracking area for their books and pages read.
4. I explained the system to them:
A. Ali, 12 years old and about to go into 7th grade, gets $1 for every 50 pages she reads, with a max of $10 a week. BUT rollover pages are allowed, and I encouraged getting ahead for weeks like when we’re on vacation and they’ll read less, or when they’re going to day camp and will be too exhausted to read.
B. Noah, 8 years old and about to go into 3rd grade, gets $1 for every 25 pages he reads, with a max of $10 a week, and rollover allowed.
C. Every Monday morning, they present their Reading Logs to me for me to check their math and pay out their totals. So far, they’ve each gotten $10 every week.
It’s that simple. But they’re OBSESSED with it. And reading a ton. And keeping up with their own paperwork. And not begging me to take them to the library constantly. And have yet to tell me that they’re bored.
(And Noah can be reading as many books at once as he wants without having to finish the books to get his summer reading credit. The kid has a short book attention span.)
So if you’d like our Summer Reading Log to enact your own Personal Summer Reading Program, click here to download it and give it a try.