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

Favorite Christmas Books from the team at Read, Discuss, Do!

Merry Christmas! 'Tis the season for reading Christmas-themed books and the team here at Read, Discuss, Do has gathered a few of our all-time favorites. We hope you enjoy our sampling of titles - classic and new. What would you add to our list?  Leave a comment below to let us know.  Happy Reading!

Rebecca’s Picks: 

MOUSE'S CHRISTMAS GIFT by Mindy Baker, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk. I love this book because of how it captures the beautiful simplicity of celebrating Christmas for what it truly is. No fanfare or long shopping lists necessary, just a community coming together to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

MR. WILLOWBY'S CHRISTMAS TREE by Robert Barry. I love the delightful, festive silliness of this story.

A childhood favorite, which is out of print now, I believe, is SANTA'S CRASH-BANG CHRISTMAS by Steven Kroll, illustrated by Tomie dePaola. I found the slapstick humor of this book to be quite amusing as a kid, while still feeling sympathy for poor Santa's plight. (I couldn't find a decent image of the cover, so I'm including a picture of the terribly abused copy I found at a yard sale a few years ago.)

Laura's Picks:

THE SWEET SMELL OF CHRISTMAS written by Patricia Scarry and illustrated by J.P. Miller. Multiple generations of my family have loved this classic scratch ’n sniff story about a lovable bear waking up to discover the sweet smells of Christmas. A favorite year after year.

ANGELA AND THE BABY JESUS written by Frank McCourt and illustrated by Raul Colon.  My family loves this delightful story based on the true story of Frank McCourt’s mother who took home the Baby Jesus from her parish’s outdoor nativity because she felt sorry for Him being out in the cold.

WHO IS COMING TO OUR HOUSE? written by Joseph Slate and illustrated by Ashley Wolff.  This sweet board book, in which the animals in the Christmas stable anticipate who might be coming the visit, is perfect for bedtime.  My kids loved it all year round when they were teeny tiny.

Mindy's Picks: 

DASHER: HOW A BRAVE LITTLE DOE CHANGED CHRISTMAS FOREVER by Matt Tavares. This is the story of how Dasher came to be one of Santa’s reindeer. I love the magical tone and beautiful illustrations that the author uses to spin the tale of Dasher’s quest from her job with the J.P. Finnegan’s Traveling Circus and Menagerie all the way to meeting Santa and living at the North Pole, with only the North Star to guide her. 

JUST RIGHT FOR CHRISTMAS by Birdie Black and illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw. A king decides to give his daughter a beautiful long, red cloak for Christmas, so the sewing maids snip and sew until it is wrapped and ready. They put the scraps outside the door where Jenny the kitchen maid finds them and makes a jacket for her ma. She also places the scraps outside her door, and the chain continues as Bertie Badger makes a hat for his pa, a squirrel makes gloves for his wife, and finally Milly Mouse makes a scarf for her son Billy. I love how all of the gifts are just right for each recipient! It is a cozy little story with the sweetest illustrations.

ONE SPLENDID TREE by Marilyn Helmer. A mother and her son named Junior have to move to the city while the father is away at war. The mother has to work in a factory and money is tight. This year there will be no Christmas tree. But when Junior finds an old plant in the hallway, he has an idea that transforms the plant and eventually brings the entire apartment complex together to celebrate. This is a heartwarming story about togetherness and unity even in difficult circumstances.

Tina's Picks:

TOUGH COOKIE written and illustrated by Edward Hemingway is a unique Gingerbread story in which the sugar cookie man has to find a new identity and purpose.

GOODNIGHT MANGER by Laura Sassi, illustrated by Jane Chapman is a beautiful rhyming picture book about the sounds and busyness of the manger. How can Mary get baby Jesus to sleep?

THE CRIPPLED LAMB by Max Lucado and illustrated by Liz Bonham is an endearing story about a crippled lamb's purpose in the birth of Jesus.

Trine's Picks: 

GOOD KING WENCESLAS by J.M. Neale A beautiful story (and song is included) about generosity, sharing from our abundance, and caring for our neighbors, especially the poor.

THE TAILOR OF GLOUCESTER by Beatrix Potter Again, a sweet and sometimes funny classic story of kindness and helping one another.  And kids love animal characters.

ONE WINTRY NIGHT by Ruth Graham Bell The most beautiful illustrations. A classic telling a child learning the depth of God’s love and protection for him and the true meaning of Christmas.

SANTA'S FAVORITE STORY by Hisako Aoki and Ivan Gantschev Super cute story! Here is the blurb: When Santa Claus tells the forest animals that he is not looking forward to delivering all those heavy packages, they are worried that there won’t be a Christmas anymore.   He then tells them the story of the first Christmas.


Trine Grillo said…
I'm looking forward to reading all of these!