Ten Reason Your Kids Should Participate in a Summer Reading Program

by Rebecca J. Gomez When my kids were young, summer reading programs were a sure thing. For the most part, my children were avid readers, especially my girls. A summer reading program wasn't necessary to encourage them to read, but we participated because it was a fun addition to summer. And the free pizza, books, and water park tickets definitely didn't hurt! There are lots of reasons to participate in a summer reading program or challenge, and here are ten of them: 1. Many summer reading programs offer prizes. And while we all know that reading is its own reward, some kids haven't figured that out yet. For those kids, a prize is just the incentive they need to stick their noses in a book now and then over the summer. 2. It's a fun way to reward those kids who will be reading no matter what! 3. For some families, trips to the library may help break up summer monotony.  4. Summer reading programs promote reading together as a family, especially for those with very young

Welcome to Read, Discuss, Do!

When you think about story time, does your mind automatically go to the library or to the preschool classroom? Do you picture a group of kids singing songs, doing finger rhymes, and listening eagerly as an adult reads a few books centered around a certain theme? Maybe the idea of crafts comes to mind, along with an instant headache!

"No, thank you!" you may say. "I'll stick to reading to my kids at bedtime."

If that sounds anything like you, then I'm here to challenge you to think about story time in a whole new way. 

As a picture book author, one of the things I've been encouraged to do as a way to help promote my books is to come up with "extension activities" for teachers and parents. In my searches on Pinterest for "story time" I've found an abundance of boards, lists, and links dedicated to library and classroom story time ideas. I've even come across countless links to homeschool blogs. What seems to be lacking, however, is practical advice aimed at the parent or caregiver simply reading with their kids.

Much of the advice on the web that is aimed at librarians and teachers can be useful for parents reading with their children as well! But there is so much of it! Even as a self-proclaimed story time enthusiast, I can get a bit overwhelmed by all the talk about reading readiness, extension activities, and comprehension...oh my! And don't even get me started on those "100 Books and Crafts" lists out there. Who has time to sort through those, anyway?

So, when I was brainstorming ways to promote my first book, What about Moose?, I thought of a simple formula that anyone could use: Read a book. Discuss the book. Do an activity related to the book. This formula can work with any book, from board book to novel!

The primary aim of Read, Discuss, Do! is to make story time fun, simple, and accessible for anyone! To that end, many of the activity ideas you will find here and in searching #ReadDiscussDo on social media require little to no preparation or instruction and often leave the specifics open to interpretation. But you will also find some hands-on activities like art projects and recipes--all related to specific books! 

So follow along. Join the mailing list! I'm sure you'll find something that you and the young readers in your life will enjoy.

Happy reading (and discussing and doing)!