This Year Do A Summer Reading Program Homeschool Style!
Summer reading programs sponsored by your local library are a great way to motivate your child to read during the summer. However, as a homeschooler I like to take it one step further and motivate my child(ren) not just to read, but to learn from reading during the summer. So I developed my own reading program, and did it homeschool style.
The exciting part of a summer reading program is the prizes. Typically there are 2-3 prizes your child can earn for reading a set amount of minutes/hours. Sometimes the prizes are awesome like a free ticket to the zoo, or a coupon for a personal pan pizza from pizza hut. And sometimes the prizes are
terrible not so awesome. Let’s just say that I could have lived without some of the prizes my kids accumulated from participating in the summer reading program. From a yellow rubber slug to tattoos, we have walked out of the library disappointed more than once.
As part of my homeschool reading program I like to let my kids decide what their own prizes will be. This increases each child’s motivation to participate because they get to work for something they really want or are interested in. The program has 3 prizes; a 5 hour prize, a 10 hour prize, and a 15 hour grand prize. As the parent you can decide the limits of what the 3 prizes are worth in case your child asks for something over the top. This way you can both agree on what the prizes will be and it’s a win-win!
A Topic Based On Your Child’s Interest
A reading program is a great opportunity for your child to learn more about something they are interested in by reading about it. As part of my homeschool reading program I include a topic/interest. This can be something that your child picks on their own, or it can be something that you suggest or require as a part of their education. My oldest daughter loves marine animals and chose the topic: Sea Turtles. My second son loves vehicles and chose the topic: How Cars Drive. You can easily turn anything your child loves into an educational topic.
Summer reading programs don’t care what kids read as long as they are continually reading. This is where I think the library reading programs lack quality. When we visit the library my kids typically pick books that are more entertaining than they are educational. The heart of my homeschool reading program is to help my kids learn from books rather than to just be entertained. So I put a stipulation on their participation…the only books that count are non-fiction books! Historical fiction is also acceptable, but only if they need additional material.
Libraries make it easy to find educational books. Each section is usually clearly labeled; fiction, non-fiction, reference, etc.. Even the children’s area has a non-fiction section! And the non-fiction section is usually organized by topic making it easy for your child to find a book about their topic/interest.
A Final Paper Or Project
A paper or project is required in order to receive the 15 hour grand prize for this homeschool reading program. I like to let my child decide which they will do, paper or project, but if you want to require one or the other as part of their education that works too. What I like about a paper or project is that it allows my kids to show me what they learned in a creative way.
A paper can include an essay, a poem, a short story, a report, etc..
A project can include a diagram, a science experiment, an activity, a model, etc..
The idea is to display or write about what they learned and share it. This paper or project is also great material for your child’s yearly portfolio if your state requires one for end of year assessments.
Homeschool Reading Program Charts
Click on the links below to print off my Homeschool Reading Program charts. The chart for ages 8-12 tracks reading by time (15 min. increments) and the chart for ages 3-7 tracks reading by book. I hope you and your kids enjoy reading to learn as much as we do this summer (or fall, or winter, or spring, it’s not season specific when it’s homeschool). Happy Reading!