3 Reasons I’m Saying No to the Summer Reading Program
I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have said this a few years ago!
As soon as my oldest could read, I was chomping at the bit, just waiting to sign him up for the summer reading program. I had such fond memories of being rewarded for something I loved to do as a child, and wanted to share that with him.
The year my now four year old turned one, I credit the summer reading program with encouraging me to read more to him. I had sorta slacked off a bit in that department, and now, he really has developed of love of books and reading.
So really, summertime has always been about the summer reading program for us. (It’s almost the most exciting thing about summer around here, since temperatures can reach 115 or higher!) And if you’ve followed my writing here, you know how much I love the library. So what gives? Why am I saying “no” this year?
My children already read quite a bit!
We have weekly trips to the library, and I really feel like we are in a good place with keeping our book selection fresh and relevant to their interests. I try to encourage them to read the books that most appeal to them, whether they are comic books, or favorite authors, or even cartoon characters they like. Also, I try to keep an eye out for books they might like, and when I see something, I quickly request it from the library and pick it up at our next visit. There is a hush that falls on our home after each library trip, and weekday mornings are usually spent quietly perusing books. It seems we have a pretty good thing going already without giving our children incentives.
All the STUFF
I’m not complaining, necessarily. Our library gives out pretty cool prizes for the children who reach the reading milestones (like passes to the local pool, little toys, and books they get to keep). But multiply that by four children, and you quickly have a lot of things to keep track of. Since I began trying to cultivate a more minimalist lifestyle, my attitude toward little prizes and papers has certainly changed, and I have tried to curtail the influx of clutter as best as I can.
They don’t want to read if they HAVE TO!
Want to ruin a love of reading? Make it mandatory! Stick a reading chart in front of someone and say, “you MUST read for 20 minutes to earn a sticker”, and they might just start putting stickers in place for each (very slim) picture book they read, asking you (before your feet have even touched the floor in the morning) if they can do their reading after their screen time, and declaring that maybe they don’t need a pool pass as a prize after all (as if earning a pass from the library is the ONLY way they’ll get to visit the pool this summer!) Not that this happened in our home or anything!
All that being said, if they want to and they are willing to keep track of their reading on their own, without complaint, then sure. We can participate in the summer reading program. And I will applaud (but possibly inwardly cringe) at every little toy earned along the way.
Have you had a summer where you decided not to utilize the summer reading program? Did you regret it, or did it work out better for your family?
Becky is a wife of nine years and stay at home mom to four young children. She aspires to encourage women in Biblical truth on her blog, Happy Christian Home