Welcome, Kristen, our first guest writer for Nothern BC Moms. A northern BC girl from birth, Kristen recently moved from Vanderhoof to Terrace where she lives with her husband and two girls. She is an early childhood educator and spends her free time reading and painting old furniture.
When those sweet days of summer arrive, families are all too excited to shed backpacks and homework assignments for days at the beach and trips to the park. The daily reading that was part of the school day suddenly comes to an end as there are more exciting things to fill the time with during the short season of warm weather Northern BC Moms have.
Kids arrive home on the last day of the school year with the request from their teachers that they spend time every day reading over the summer. We all know why – the dreaded “summer slide” has been a buzzed about topic the last few years.
Summer Slide refers to children dropping in their reading ability in September after a summer neglecting their books.
For some children, daily reading is a natural rhythm of home life and needs no parental encouragement. For others, reading anything more than the words on the back of the cereal box (which totally counts as reading by the way!) during the summer feels like a chore and requires a little extra push to accomplish.
That’s where the BC Libraries Summer Reading Club comes in!
We have used the club for the last three summers to help us with our summer reading and it has become something we eagerly look forward to every year.
If your family hasn’t joined before, or even if it’s just been a while, here are some things you should know and a few tips on how to use the Summer Reading Club to knock out those reading goals with ease!
- It’s completely free and easy to join!
- We signed up last week at our local branch and the process took less than two minutes per child. Every library will be slightly different in how they present the program, but ours gave us free pencils and a schedule of all the special event dates at the library to take home along with our booklet to track the books we read.
- For reference, Kristen signed up at the Terrace Public Library where she lives. Find out more at a local library near you.
- There are incentives for reading!
- Sometimes all you need to get kids reading is a little bribery. My kids love bringing their booklets into the desk and getting a sticker or stamp on each page.
- At our branch, kids also get a ticket for each book they read to enter into a draw for prizes too! At the end of the summer, many library branches give every child who completed their booklet a medal, and the promise of that sweet reward can keep my kids turning “just one more page!” for quite a while some days.
- Every year has a cool theme to capture kids’ attention.
- This year is “Motion Commotion” and has two cartoon cats named Leo DaVinci and J-cat as the mascots. The library has a website devoted to them where kids can upload drawings and stories, and read all the other submissions by kids just like them.
- Kids can track their reading in any way they want to!
- You can do everything from writing down the minutes read per day, book titles, pages read, or just color in the blank space for each day that your child did some reading.
- There are no restrictions on what counts as reading.
- Comic books, poetry, instruction manuals, audio books…all count as reading. Summer is a great time for kids to practice magic tricks, learn to garden, cook simple recipes and do science experiments; all of which they can learn from books! If your child baulks at the idea of reading through a novel, they may enjoy picking up a kids cookbook or reading about ancient Egypt or gross bodily functions.
- Pop into any library branch throughout the summer to have a librarian stamp your reading progress booklet.
- You can even go into other library branches around the province if you are travelling during the summer and aren’t close to your home branch.
- Don’t be afraid to ask a librarian for help.
- If you have a reluctant reader, most librarians are happy to spend a few moments finding out about your child’s interests and suggesting books that might catch their attention. The same goes for those eager readers – librarians can suggest new books when you feel like your child has read everything already.
- There are special activities like guest speakers, craft projects, or scavenger hunts you can attend throughout the summer.
- They are often connected to the reading club theme. My kids are still talking about the day when a local pet store brought in various animals and spoke about them last year!
We keep our tracking booklets clipped to the fridge all summer and I love seeing how excited my kids are to fill up the blank slots. We try to visit the library once a week for fresh reading material and for the kids to take their booklet to the desk to get stamped. The librarians are great about praising them for their hard work, and often will ask my children what they thought about some of the titles we have written down, which inspires them to keep at it!
So what are you waiting for?
Sign up for the summer reading club at your local library today and see how easy it is to accomplish that 20 minutes of reading a day this summer!
Are you interested in writing for Northern BC Moms? Email us at hello [at] northernbcmoms [dot] ca.