Thursday, June 5, 2014

Summer Survival: Rewarding Reading

Daily reading is extremely important!  Not only does it improve reading skills, but also affects academic success in practically all school subjects.  I can't tell you how many mom's have told me that it is a struggle for their child to read 15 minutes a day.  As a reading specialist, I love helping children discover the joy of reading.  So, before rambling about summer programs, I first want to offer a few suggestions to nurture a love of reading.

Ideas to Increase a Child's Desire to Read

1. Interest - make sure it is a subject the reader enjoys

2. Material - doesn't have to be a book (think magazines, video game instruction manuals, travel guides, etc.)

3. Reading Level - needs to be at the appropriate level to not only read the words, but also comprehend (ex. a child who has never been out of a major city my have a difficult time reading a book that takes place on a small rural farm - think about the vocabulary they may not be familiar with)

4. Appropriate level of topics/subjects - some materials are easy to read but have topics that are either inappropriate and/or too advanced for the reader
(ex. a young child who has no experience with a love one or pet dying may not be ready to independently read about a child whose parents die)

5. Reading is Important to Family - Set a time that everyone in the family reads something
(this could be work related or you could even be reading Ramblings of Mama)

6. Rewards - Our world is reward based.  Most people wouldn't go to work if there was no form of compensation. 

Reading Reward Programs
Look around your community and you will most likely find several local reading reward programs.  Most libraries have an incentive program to encourage reading during the summer.  Some libraries even have reward programs for those of all ages (including adults).  I make sure that I enroll in the adult programs as a role model and have my children see me participate when we all go to the library together.  Please check your local library to see what programs are available for your family.

In addition to libraries, there are many other sources for reading programs.  I have written a brief description below of some of these programs but did not include program dates below in case different areas vary.  Also, keep in mind, that in my experiences some programs have to change the rewards offered and may run out of certain options. 

Barnes & Noble Bookstore
Barnes & Nobles Summer Reading Program is offered to children in first through sixth grade.  After reading eight books children complete a form with the title, author, and brief information about the book.  Take your child and their completed reading log to a participating store and they can pick out a free book from the books available.  (The free book options are listed on the form, but keep in mind that each book is available while supplies last.)

Bookman's Kids Club
Bookman's offers a reading rewards program that my children love!  Children who join the free Kids Club receive a discount on purchases and a gift certificate on their birthday.  They also give children a reward for every ten short book reports they write.  I love this program for encouraging both reading and writing.

After your child reads a book that you deem an appropriate reading level have them write a short report with the following information:
 1. Your Child's Name & Age
 2. Title & Author of Book
 3. Why they Liked/Disliked the Book

 After your child has completed 10 reports take them to Bookman's for a reward (your child must be present).  Please call to confirm your local Bookman's participation and requirements before having your child begin.

Book Adventure Online Program
This will be our first year trying the Book Adventure online reading program, so I am not yet able to speak from personal experience.  This program is offered for children in grades K-8.  You will need to create an account for your child.  Once they have read a book they complete an online quiz and earn points that can be used toward prizes.  It states that the prizes are sponsor donated, therefore I am unsure if they will run out of certain items or if they will change during the summer.  If you are interested in this program, please take a look at it online via this link.

Half Priced Books
Half Priced Books has a time oriented reading program for children age 14 and under.  The program involves reading for a minimum of 15 minutes every day during June and July.  The minutes are to be recorded daily and initialed each week by a parent/guardian.  Once the child has reached 300 minutes he/she turns in the completed log at a participating Half Priced Book location and will be given a HPB Bookworm Bucks reward (one for each month that they complete 300 minutes). For specific date requirements click here for a link to Half Price Books site regarding more information concerning their reading program.

*Always make sure you call in advance to confirm the store/library is participating and that there are not any special circumstances.  Also remember programs sometimes change, so always confirm.  Nothing ruins a day like arriving for an anticipated reward program with excited children, only to learn it is no longer running offered.  Due to the insanity that is already running our lives, Ramblings of Mama is unable to regularly check every location/program.

Remember, that if you have children who are home during the summer then we are the source for you! Stay tuned as Ramblings of Mama will be posting tips and tricks to thrive throughout the next few months as you strive to survive summer!

 Disclosure: No additional compensation was received for this posting. Ramblings of Mama will always provide honest opinions, beliefs or experiences on products reviewed. We will only recommend services that we feel are of benefit to our readers. We do not take responsibility for stores/libraries/organizations that do not participate or change the details of the programs we discuss.  ALWAYS confirm details directly with the facility before attending.  Links enclosed contain affiliate links.  If you have any questions, please contact Heather RamblingsOfHeather{at} gmail {dot} com

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