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 Three: Amazing Animals!

Who doesn't love a good animal story? This week's Summer Challenge theme is Amazing Animals! This week, we encourage you to read some books about animals, both fiction and nonfiction, then get out and enjoy some animal antics together with friends or family. 

Recommended reads:

Crossings: Extraordinary Structures for Extraordinary Animals by Katy S. Duffield, illustrated by Mike Orodan. This book is both moving and educational, a testament to what humans can accomplish when they have a common purpose and caring hearts. 

Honey: The Dog Who Saved Abraham Lincoln by Shari Swanson, illustrated by Chuck Groenink. A charming story about Abraham Lincoln as a child and his real life hero dog.

After Dark: Poems about Nocturnal Animals by David L. Harrison, illustrated by Stephanie Laberis. This book of poems is creative and educational and is pleasant to read. The illustrations are lovely too!

This Way, Charlie by Caron Levis, illustrated by Charles Santoso. A truly charming and moving story inspired by a real life animal friendship. 

Ideas for things to discuss:

  • Talk about the story. Is it fiction or nonfiction? Realistic or fantastical?
  • What kind of animals do you find most amazing?
  • What kinds of animals make good pets? What might make the worst pet?
  • How can you help make the world a better place for animals? How can you start in your own back yard?
  • Did you learn something new about an animal in the book you read?
Ideas for things to do:
  • Head to the zoo!
  • Go on a neighborhood safari. Take pictures or keep a list of the animals you see.
  • Donate to an animal shelter.
  • Hang a bird feeder in your yard. Here are some DIY bird feeders kids can make on their own from LetGrow. 
  • Have an animal-themed movie night. 
  • Create some animal-inspired art, like this torn paper animal art collage from EduArt 4 Kids.
How will you celebrate Amazing Animals this week? Do you or your kids have any favorite animal books? Let us know in the comments or share on social media with #RDDSummerChallenge.