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How's the Reading Going?

Now that school has officially ended for the year, summer reading should kick up into high gear. Here at the On Parenting household, the 100 Book Challenge got an early start, thanks to two boys quite excited about the idea. Interest tapered off for a bit around book 18. But a little reminder about a movie for book 25 caused some reading competition with both boys vying for that 25th spot. The current count: 29 books read (2 by Dad, 2 by me, the rest by the boys.) The book that earns the prize for the most captivating thus far turns out to be an old classic -- Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." The vivid descriptions and fun story captivated the boys, with daily requests for more and more and more. I'm taking suggestion for a follow-up that garners such excitement.

In addition to the On Parenting challenge, plenty of other summer reading programs are in place. For one close to you, try the library, which often offers prizes. This year's KidsPost's Summer Reading Program selects non-fiction books for kids to read. Those who join the program will get a bookmark in the mail and their names printed in the newspaper. Borders and Waldenbooks are giving 50 percent off certain books for reading for the summer. And at Scholastic's Web site, kids earn points for a team by reading books.

Scholastic's Chief Academic Officer Francie Alexander also offers these summer reading tips for kids.

1. Get Started / Get Carded: Planning a vacation is part of the fun, so get your children thinking about books to read over the summer. And visit your local library and get a library card—kids really like “official” documents with their names on it.

2. Think Outside the Book: Don’t forget magazines, newspapers, game directions or any print you can get your child’s eyes on to motivate and add variety to the reading experience.

3. Go Places with Books: If you’re taking a staycation or leaving home for a vacation, read up on your destination -- where you’d like to go or where you are going. Check out nonfiction reads like fact books and atlases, or fictional stories set in the place to be explored.

4. It’s Showtime: Reading the book and seeing the movie are a winning combination when it comes to getting everyone reading and talking about books. It is a good idea to read the book first and then see the movie.

5. Start a Series – Bet You Can’t Read Just One: If you can match the right child (or adult) to the right book in a series, the reading habit will grow. Teachers, librarians, and booksellers can give advice on popular series.

6. Trading Books: One way to stretch a book budget and get your hands on more books is to swap books with other families and friends.

7. Four or More: Remember that reading four or more books may prevent the dreaded summer slide — a child’s efforts need to add up to enough reading to go back to school ahead of the curve.

8. Read New Generation Books: Books are evolving well beyond the printed page. Technology is such an important part of the life of our lives today, so e-books are an attractive option. Also, today’s readers are attracted to books that combine print in traditional formats and online (The 39 Clues being one example).

9. Start a Summer Book Collection: Just like collecting rocks or seashells, collect books with summer themes. Put them in a fun box or container and take them out to celebrate summer.

10. Read and Rhyme Time: Put poetry on your summer reading schedule. It is fun to read aloud, and maybe you can even get your child to memorize a poem or two during the summer. How does that help with reading? Your child will have to read the poem over and over again to remember it.

How's the reading going in your household?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  June 23, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
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Is there any evidence that these "tips" work?

Posted by: jezebel3 | June 23, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Fairfax County libraries also have a reading program. 15 books and you get a little coupon book from local vendors. My kids (7 and 4) are both signed up and received reading logs. The 4-year-old can be read to, which is easy, since we've always read to both kids each night. 7-year-old should be finished with his 15 books in a few days and we've worked to get him to read some above his level. After that, we'll probably sign him up for one of these other reading clubs.

Posted by: jljardon2 | June 23, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

I can't get the 7 year old to stop reading. When I go to his room after he's finally fallen asleep, I have to pry a book out of his hands (usually lying over his face) and get the rest of the books out of bed. Brag, brag.
Don't worry his little brother shows no signs of being a bookworm.

Posted by: bubba777 | June 23, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

We started counting last Monday and we hit book 19 last night. My 7 year old is definitly a book worm and has read 13 of our family's total. My 10 year old is still working on her first. So far though, we have had a lot of fun. We are reading the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder as a family and the girls are enjoying them. Probably not the best suggestion for little boys though. Stacy, try some other Roahld Dahl books, like the BFG, Mathilda and James and the Giant Peach. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was another hit with my oldest when she was 8 or 9. Shel Silverstein peotry is also a favorite that often leads to silly peotry contests between my girls.

Posted by: thosewilsongirls | June 23, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Great so far. DD (8) has taken to reading to herself after we put her to bed. Our biggest struggle has been pulling her away from simplistic crap (e.g., the stupid fairy books) and into stuff that's more her level. For her bday last month, my SIL gave her a bunch of books that SIL adored when she was DD's age. Worked like a charm -- DD started with a few Judy Blume books, then moved on to Roald Dahl, and just finished BFG (in 2 nights!). Which please DH no end, as Dahl was far and away his favorite author when he was a kid.

Meanwhile, DH has taken it upon herself to supplement the lack of schoolwork by teaching her algebra over the summer. . . . Welcome to life in Geek World. :-)

Posted by: laura33 | June 23, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

To thosewilsongirls: Thanks for the suggestions. I'm reluctantly going to have to agree with you about Little House on the Prairie. I've read them two chapters thus far this week, and the older one thinks it's boring. He did, however, like looking at his map to see the states they traveled through. We'll see how far I get, but it's looking like it will get abandoned somewhere mid-book.

Posted by: StaceyGarfinkle | June 23, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I don't see what is so impressive about reading. It's a rather passive "activity". I LOVE it (former English major!), but I hope my kids do not have their nose stuck in a book all the time the way I was as a child. If they do, that's fine, but I'm not going to force it or manipulate them in that area.

an area I do deem worthy of manipulation is using their own imagination to write their own stories, etc. Any books or ideas that will help in that area? I promise I'll read it!

Posted by: captiolhillmom | June 23, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

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