How I Made Summer Reading Hot

At the start of summer, I hooked the girls into books by having them apply for their own library cards.  They loved the grown-up responsibility of caring for their cards and selecting their own books.  Their faces beamed with pride as they handed over their cards to the librarian to check-out their books for the first time.  Since then, we’ve arranged bi-weekly visits to the library to make good use of those library cards.


In our area, the local libraries and retailers have made it easy to encourage my girls to read throughout the summer by offering prizes and rewards.  We started with Barnes and Nobles Summer Reading Passport because my oldest, Allana, was very excited to win a free copy of 39 Clues and last week for Wordless Wednesday, I shared a photo of Allana enjoying some hot cocoa and her new book.    Once she got the sweet taste of success by completing the Barnes and Nobles passport, it was easy to keep her motivated with other programs such as Borders and Taco Bell, especially when she learned the Taco Bell reward would be a free taco and burrito.



However, we have found the summer reading programs a bit more challenging for my youngest, Emmalynn.  Although she loves books and reading, she reads at an emergent level (very basic).  Most of the books added to her reading logs were books Allana and I read to her.  When Allana reads a book to her sister, I allow her to list the book on her summer reading form.  Of course, this was another way to encourage Allana to keep reading as well as way for her to model good reading to Emmalynn.


This summer, I made it my goal to teach Emmalynn to read.  As a former elementary school teacher, I have several samples of emergent books from a variety of publishers.  The simple, repetitive text and picture cues in the books build word recognition as well as success.  Using sight words and some basic phonics, my daughter has developed the ability to recognize the words in print as well as in her environment around our house.  When she successfully reads one of these emergent readers, we added it to a summer reading form.  In fact, she finally completed her Barnes and Nobles summer reading passport and earned her first free book too.



Years ago when teaching Allana to read, I stumbled upon a wonderful resource: Mrs. Jones Free Printable Mini Books and decided to use the mini books once again teach Emmalynn to read.  Each week, I print out a book related to a field trip we took or a topic we’ve discussed.  We assemble the book and read it together.  Then I’ll ask Emmalynn to read the book, pointing to the words as she reads.  If she struggles with a word, I’ll ask her to use the picture cues to drawing meaning or use the beginning sound of a word to help her.  After she successful reads the book independently, she colors the book as a reward.


Recently, I found another website that offered free emergent printable books: Making Learning Fun.  Some of the books listed are simple versions of your children’s favorite stories.  I know my Emmalynn will enjoy learning to read these books!


For other tips, tricks and strategies to get your kids to embrace summer reading, visit the discussion at TwitterMoms.


“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms blogging program to be eligible to get an “I Can Read!” book. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

One comment

  1. Sarah Brown says:

    Fantastic, Denise! I think reading to/with your children is the absolute best thing in the world you can do for them. I love that all of these companies are pitching in with incentives.

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