Every summer as a child, we participated in the summer reading program at the local library. I remember reading lots of books and filling in log sheets. There were prizes for making regular progress and a prize at the end of the summer based on how many books were read. I remember getting coupons for an ice cream cone or french fries from McDonald's, but I don't remember much more about the program. What I do know is that I still have a love of reading that I certainly feel was fed by regular reading as a child.
Reading is a great way to keep your children's minds active in the summer. Read chapter books together with your kids and discuss them. Not only does this allow you time to bond, but it helps develop reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. Read books that are set somewhere local and take a field trip to the area and see if you can find familiar landmarks from the books. Have your child read a book and then 'retell' you the story in their own words.
Reading time is a great 'down' time for kids. An opportunity to have some alone time and spend some time out of the sun. With a library in most communities, a wide array of books is readily accessible to suit any interest and reading level.
Signing up for reading programs can help to provide added incentive to kids to read. My kids are signed up for the library reading program where we live. The program is similar to the programs I did as a child, with prizes for continued progress. In addition to library reading programs, there are a number of retailers who also offer summer reading programs with benefits:
Barnes and Noble
At Barnes and Noble, keep track of your reading on their reading journal. Read 8 books, and share what part you liked best, and receive a free book from a select list. Also, be entered to win an autographed Percy Jackson novel. The program is open to children grades 1 - 6 and is valid from 5/26 - 9/7/09.
Participate in Borders summer reading challenge and when you read 8 books, chose a select item at 50% off or more, item price is reduced to $4.99. Program is open to kids 12 and under and runs through 8/31/09.
Half Price Books
Half Price Books Feed Your Brain summer reading program offers children, ages 12 and under, a $3 Half Price Books Shopping Card each week that they spend at least 15 minutes reading. Program runs through 7/31/09.
Reading is a frugal way to entertain the kids this summer, with the added benefit of being educational. Check out Frugal Fridays for more frugal ideas.