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

When the Love of Reading Fades

by Rebecca J. Gomez

A few years ago, I came across this greatly mistreated paperback copy of Santa's Crash-Bang Christmas by Steven Kroll at a yard sale. I immediately knew I had to have it, despite its obvious maladies.

I had to have it because my family had it when I was a child, and I loved this book. It had been one of my favorite Christmas books, second only to Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It had a special place in my heart even though I hadn't seen or thought of it for years.

One day not long after that, I was looking through the shelf of picture books in the family room. My then fourteen-year-old son happened to be nearby. Every now and then I'd pull a book out and show it to him. "I love this book!" he would say as he'd flip through the pages. We talked about reading them together when he was younger. Even as a teenage boy rebelling against reading, books had a special place in his heart. And he remembered that, just for a moment, when he said to me, "I like books. I just have to force myself to read the first couple of chapters."

Years have passed, and I often wonder if the boy who used to beg me to read Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs or Chicks and Salsa over and over has lost his love for reading. I've worried that the same kid who devoured The Magic Thief in two days will never find another book that he can't put down.

But those little moments of "Oh, I love that book!" and his recent comment that he should finish reading The Chronicles of Narnia have assured me that books still have a special place in his heart. And I do my best to nurture that, giving him and his sisters books as gifts regularly, especially at Christmas. With time, books may once again have a special place in his life.

Maybe he'll never be the voracious reader he was when he was ten, but the connections we've made because of books will never go away. And I have no doubt there will be new ones in the future.


This post was adapted from a post that originally appeared on Rebecca's blog, www.rebeccajgomez.com.