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

Eight Tips for Helping Young Readers Bloom

Spring is here, so many people are planning and prepping to work in their gardens. In many places, spring flowers are already blooming or daffodils and other spring bulbs are poking up out of the warming soil. Given the right conditions and care, gardens can be thriving, vibrant places full of life. And the same is true for young readers! So, to celebrate spring and gardens and reading, here are ten tips to help your young readers bloom and thrive, along with some garden photos for some garden inspiration.

1. Just like flowers, budding readers blossom in their own time. Encourage them, but let them grow at their own pace.

2. Gardens need the right nutrients to grow, and this can vary depending on the plant. The same is true for young readers. Fertilize young readers minds with consistent, nutrient-rich mind food. In other words, offer a variety of books! But remember, not all growing readers will respond to the same books the same way. 

Cone flowers and black-eyed Susans in Rebecca's
native garden.

3. Be sure to include a blend of perennials (old favorites) and annuals (new picks) in your reading garden. The library is like a garden center for young minds. Use it often!

4. Spend time tending your garden (reading) every day!

Laura's spring daffodils

5. Gardening honors the seasons: sometimes a quick story quenches your thirst like a burst of rain moistens a seed sprouting in the spring. Other times a long steady read is needed to sink deep into the soil of your heart, like the snow and rains of winter. 

6. Share what's in your garden with others, like putting together a bouquet or sharing your crop of tomatoes! This can be as simple as talking about what you're reading and even recommending favorite books. 

An old stock tank that Marci converted to a 
raised garden bed

7. Gardening, like reading, can be even more special when you do it with someone you love. Sharing a picture book at bedtime, reading a novel together as a family, or participating in a book club can all be ways to cultivate a lifetime of reading.

8. Let the sun shine on your garden! Set an example by making sure your young readers see you reading for the simple pleasure of it.

Looking for more? Check out these garden themed posts: