Deb Adamson: Summer reading equals summer fun
Did you ever notice the brouhaha made about kids and summer reading? Children’s librarians knock themselves out with one-size-fits-all reading incentive programs aimed at encouraging reluctant readers out of the pool and lounging with a good book.
Earn a pizza for every book consumed. Read a book, bowl a string. One free karate lesson for each book read. It’s as if once students depart the classroom in June they’re eager to leave anything resembling a book locked behind school doors, and it requires outright bribery to get them to crack one.
Whatever happened to just reading for pleasure? My guess is that during the school year most students are so bogged down with assigned reading they need decompression from the mere idea of words on a page. Hence the effort to exuberantly induce what should be a treasured pastime.
A local independent bookstore here in Connecticut offers something enticing and seemingly less coercive. R.J. Julia Booksellers reading program, 10 Weeks, 10 Books, One Summer of Reading, proposes no kickback, just great reads. As facilitators, parents submit a reader’s profile highlighting their child’s interests, likes, dislikes, age and reading level. Statistics are then reviewed by expert booksellers, who compile a list of 10 hand-picked suggestions.
Each week a special book delivery arrives right at the little reader’s door. And if the child will be away at camp or on a distant summer vacation, multiple addresses are accepted. How cool is that?
We opted not to participate in the program. Instead, back in early June, we visited our own local independent bookstore and stocked up on a pile of summer volumes for Zach. Our in-town booksellers are attuned to his interests and sometimes assemble a list of Zach-tailored propositions before we walk through the door.
He has already consumed two of the eight titles purchased and as is the case with more seasoned readers, he craves a follow-up to re-engage his hungry imagination. To keep the momentum flowing it made sense to have ready-to-read titles in hand. With a backup of stashed books of interest, Zach has acquired another veteran readers habit: juggling at least two titles at a time. And so this fleeting season, instead of pleading for more lazy days at the beach or pool, Zach has wished for rain, just so he can curl up with a good book and catch up on summer reading.
Deb Adamson, who lives in Connecticut, is a home school mom who writes about the joys, trials and adventures of days teaching and learning with her 7-year-old son. She can be reached at email@example.com.