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

Ten Book Nook Ideas for Siblings or Friends

by Marci Whitehurst

Is there anything that can possibly make reading better?

A story takes us on adventures, whisks us to new places, introduces us to different people—but it can be even better when we share it.

Siblings are built-in friends and sharing a book with a sibling is built-in joy. Our family also loved reading with cousins and neighbors. Creating a reading nook or spot to share a story can be twice the fun. Here are ten fun book nook ideas to try with a buddy:

1. Pillow Palace. Find a corner, a couch, or any interesting place and create a stash of pillows—enough for each kid. Settle in with a good book!

2. Set up a tent. If you have a tent, pitch it in the living room or family room—or if it’s warm enough, outside.

3. Blanket fort. Stretch a blanket over a coffee table or across chairs to build a fort. Settle in together for a good book. Bring a flashlight for extra fun.

4. Popcorn reading! Siblings take turns reading—a page or a chapter—it’s up to you!

5. Boxes. Make a box car or a train. This is great for younger readers. We once did this with laundry baskets—it was like a drive-in movie, only for reading.

Photo credit: Jamie Reimer and Hands on as We Grow®

6. Hidey-Hole. Find a spot to hide and snuggle in with a good book together.

7. Set up a snack for read-alouds. If an adult or one sibling is reading, the other kids can snack while listening. Make sure to wash hands before becoming the next reader. You could also put hot cocoa in a spill proof cup.

8. Bookcase snuggles. Put a yoga mat (or a big blanket) on the floor in front of a bookcase. Each kid picks a book off the shelf to read—or maybe two or three!

9. Flashlight night. They say reading in the dark is bad for the eyes, but a good flashlight provides plenty of light. If siblings hold flashlights for each other, it can be a lot of fun.

10. Car reading! If you have kids that do not get car sick while reading, settle in for traveling with a stack of books. Otherwise, books on CD or streaming are a great option for traveling.