Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
Although my daughter is too young to have assigned summer reading, she participates in the summer reading programs at her school and the local library. Managing her reading means helping her find books, reminding her to read, tracking progress and managing the books themselves.
I allow my daughter to choose her own books in general, as long as the books are written for children. During the summer I also impose the rule that the book has to be one that can be read in a week (this rate is the one she needs to do to get the school prize).
She is beyond her grade level in reading; most of the books “on level” are ones that she shows no interest in anyway. But browsing the shelves at the library usually doesn’t produce level-appropriate or interesting material.
The school district produces and distributes to the local library a list of books. Each school also provides a list of Accelerated Reader books, sorted by level. We look over these lists to see if there is a book she has heard of and may want to read.
We are lucky in that two of the librarians at our branch know children’s books. They are often able to make suggestions based on what my daughter has enjoyed. In addition our neighborhood is populated with four third grade teachers who also know the literature and can recommend specific books.
There are many recommended reading lists. You can find them in books, online, and often in the library. While we will generally look over these books, they often seem to contain a wide level of reading, some of which is too easy and some far too difficult.
The best way to get reading done is to have a set time for reading, and to eliminate or limit media distractions until the reading is done. We do limit the amount of screen time my daughter has, and the response to “I’m bored” is more often than not “Go Read.”
Since I am not always focused enough to deliver the reminders, I have a repeating alarm on my iTouch that reminds me to remind her.
Generally my daughter is asked to track two things: time spent reading and the number of books. The library sets the goal of a certain amount of minutes in order to earn their prizes and the school goes by books. For each session she sits down with the book and starts her Mark-My-Time Digital Bookmark .
I have two sheets tacked to our family message center (see Setting Up A Family Scheduling Station). One has boxes indicating 10 minute intervals, and the other has a place for title, author and date finished. After she is done with a reading session, she colors in the boxes for the amount of time she read, and when she finishes a book she writes in the date on the other sheet.
This last step is the most difficult for us. Without the following steps, we end up with piles of books in various places, which leads to unread books and overdue fines.
We make a commitment to make one trip to the library per week. The library policy is that you can check out 30 items for 3 weeks. We check out two items for one week (and this applies to me as well!) The only time we would have more than that out at a time is when books on reserve pop up ready for us.
We have a library bag in our closet where all library books go. When they are in progress, we each have our spots for keeping the books. When the book is finished it goes back into the library bag.
When we come home from the library, I make a note on the calendar how many books each of us checked out. Then the next time we go, I make sure we are bringing that many books back. If I renew a book, or keep it longer than one week, it gets added to the next week counts, so that the count on the calendar is always how many we have out at any given time.
This also serves as a reminder for books we may have forgotten we checked out.
These steps have turned summer reading into a much more manageable process. Do you have any tips to add? Comment below.
Photo by kennymatic