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


Review by Rebecca J. Gomez

Happy Birthday, Christmas Child!, a new board book by Laura Sassi and illustrated by Gabi Murphy, is a sweet and simple counting nativity story. The story begins with Mary and Joseph entering a stable with a sense of peace and anticipation, and ends with a joyful celebration of the birth of God's son, Jesus. The book follows the Biblical account of the nativity, while simplifying the language and taking obvious creative liberties to make the story engaging for the youngest audience. This book is a great way to share the story of the first Christmas with the youngest kiddos, and it can also be a great spring-board into a deeper discussion about the meaning of Christmas for the older ones! It would make a wonderful addition to anyone's Christmas book collection.

Because this is a counting book, a list of ten discussion starters seemed the perfect thing. I hope these questions will help foster deeper discussions for you and your children. 

1. Where did Mary and Joseph have to stay? Why?

2. Imagine spending the night in a stable with the animals. What would it be like? What kinds of smells and sounds might you notice?

3. Why do you think Mary and Joseph were feeling happy and blessed?

4. What was special about the baby in Mary's belly? What does the word "savior" mean?

5. How many different kinds of animals appear in the book?

6. What were the shepherds doing out in the hills at night?

7. What special message did the angels have for the shepherds?

8. How do you think the shepherds felt when they got such special news?

9. At the end of the book, everyone praises the baby Jesus. Why is that?

10. How can you honor Jesus when celebrating his birth and all year long?

Want some activity ideas to pair with Happy Birthday, Christmas Child? Check these out!

Printable activity kit

Easy Paper Mouse Craft (video)