So the kids officially ended school on Friday and now they’ll be home for a couple of months for summer…eek! I actually have a summer routine that my kids have been doing for years that helps them retain what they’ve learned in school, however the hardest part of the routine is getting them to sit and read (more my boys than my girls). It’s so weird because my kids have no issues with sitting down for a few hours to work on math and English, but when it comes to sitting still to read…it’s a problem. So this year, I’m incorporating an idea from my kids’ elementary school to encourage summer reading.
Here’s how the elementary reading program works:
- Each book page read is worth 1 point and each child keeps track of his/her points on a tracking sheet (parents have to sign off).
- At the end of year, the students bid on various items using their points.
- How do they get the items? The students pick out and write to various companies, explain the reading program, and ask for donations to encourage reading throughout the year. Not all companies respond, but the majority do. If you are planning on doing this at home, you can purchase small items too. Here is a link to “DEAD” companies that won’t send items – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ku_aQIUKZDnpueK1m1h4CNYgG1SYPMoVMmPIKLbQasg/edit?usp=sharing
- The companies that send items are sent a thank you card written by the child that wrote to them and the items are kept till the end of the year for the auction.
- The kids use their book points to bid on various items and the highest bidder wins the item.
Here is a sample of what the letters and tracking sheets look like…
Auction Letter Example –
Auction Point Tracking Sheet –
It’s a pretty neat program and I know that all of my kids really enjoyed the silent auction that was held at the end of the year. The teacher places all the items out on tables with sheets of paper and each child writes down their name and number of auction points they are willing to use to win that item. If someone outbids them, they can go back and put down a higher bid, but can only use the auction points that they’ve earned. They have to really think about how they spend their points, so there is a bit of strategy involved. Here is a link to a printable auction sheet.
I really like this program because it gave the kids something to look forward to at the end of the year, promotes writing and math skills, and strategy/critical thinking skills. Since my daughter loves to bake, she bid on a lot of cooking items (she had a running “favorites” list). She ended up winning a cupcake holder, cupcake baking pan, paring knives, kitchen rolling-pin with cookie cutters, books, toys, stickers, and more.
To encourage summer reading, my home version will be a modified version of the school’s reading program. Instead of the kids writing to companies, I’ll be supplying the auction items: various gift cards, field trips, eat out night, and surprise grab bags. To ensure that my kids are really reading, I’ll be having them take short quizzes on the books that they choose to read. There are a couple of sites on the web that you can get quizzes from – goodreads.com, softschools.com, and bookadventure.com.
How do you encourage reading during the summer?