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

Summer Challenge Week SEVEN: Go Wild with Zoo Books!

Welcome to week SEVEN of the Read, Discuss, Do Summer Challenge! You'll go wild for this week's theme: the zoo! Pair this week's read (or reads) with a trip to the zoo. If you can't go in person, why not do a virtual tour online? Some other ideas: set up a zoo with stuffed animals, make zoo animal art, or play a game of "guess that animal sound." Be creative and have fun! Don't forget about the social media hashtag, #RDDSummerChallenge.

Suggested titles:

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell, a classic lift the flap book that will delight little ones as they guess what animal is hiding behind the flap!

Peek-a-boo Zoo! by Jane Cabrera is a great book for babies and toddlers with simple, repetitive text and bright illustrations.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead, is great for the older picture book audience. It's a sweet story about how the zoo animals take care of their friend the zookeeper when he's home sick. 

There are many other great zoo themed picture books out there. Do you have any favorites?