Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer Reading



Our library, like many others, has a summer reading program where children log the books they read over the summer and receive prizes based on the number read.  The number.  Not the quality.  Quantity over quality.  

Lilah is on book #4 of Harry Potter.  

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - 309
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - 341
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - 435
                                                                1085 pages and counting.  This is just Harry Potter.  She has also read a few other smaller books like Number the Stars.  Will she reach the “magic” number of 8 books to receive a tee shirt and a certificate signed by the mayor?  You bet she will.  I will allow her to fill in the remaining slots with graphic novels and she will count the two audio books we just completed.  

When will we start looking at things a bit differently, valuing quality over quantity?  How about reading programs based on pages read?  Or how about a choice of reading books from leveled book lists, the number decreasing as the reading level increases?  How about rather than just log a book, the child creates a video, a book report, a poster, a blog entry, a bookmark, a dust cover, or how about they have the chance to tell other kids why they loved the book they read?  Get kids invested in the process, let them have input into the project, and the results can be astounding.  

11 comments:

  1. We don't even do this type of summer reading program at my library anymore because it so annoys me. We focus more on offering programming, and getting kids and their families into the library in the first place! The focus on the number of books read and then handing out prizes feels too much like conventional school to me. I feel reading, loving stories and learning, and the library atmosphere itself are their own rewards :)

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    1. This is just one of the many reasons I have to brace myself and breathe deeply when I enter our library.....

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    2. That is sad, Jess. I'm sorry for that!

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  2. I struggle with the quantity over quality issue too.

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  3. Our library has actually gone to pages read rather than # of books for grades 3 and higher for the summer reading program. Each grade grouping has a different # of pages that needs to be completed for the prizes.

    This posts reminds me of my 6th grade class actually. We had a teacher who got moved to 6th grade who was much more suited to 1st or 2nd maybe. He had a book log and people who read 50 plus books during the year got to partake in something extra, a this time I do not remember what. There were no guidelines for what the books had to be so like your summer reading program is was quantity or quality. I remember a friend and myself being very upset that kids in 6th grade could count books like the Bernstein bears and the stupids as books read. We were one of the few who were reading for quality over the quantity. :)

    Don't comment much but always love your posts.

    -AKreader

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    1. Thank you!

      Your program sounds exactly like this one. I keep waiting for our library to wake up and shake up the children's department. They could do so much more than the same old programs in the same old way. It is a shame because it is a great building with lots of materials and resources but it not homeschool friendly and is not challenging the children.

      I am glad my girls do not need a library program to motivate them to read.

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  4. It was the accelerated reading program at Anna's school that bothered me the most -- I'm so glad I pulled her out of school before he love of reading was obliterated.

    Don't you love having readers??

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    1. Yes I do. I know if they can read, they can learn anything.

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  5. Our library does minutes read - which I appreciate, because it gives Sarah, a slow reader, a chance to be on a level playing field with some of her friends, who can "finish" a book in an hour. Sarah, though, gets lost in the story! And I'll take that any day!

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  6. It should be pages read. I always thought this was so unfair. Harry Potter books are HUGE!! I love reading just to read, not to win a prize.

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  7. WE participate in the summer reading program at our library, but NOT to get awards or certificates but for the fun programs they have. This year, we had a magician come in and then a workshop for the kids who wanted to learn a few tricks. We also had Animal Tales - a company out of Tennessee that teaches kids about different animals. We had a program on coal mining with lots of show and tell. We also had our local community theater come in and do a program. My kids love the summer reading program! My DD10 who is the bookworm worries about her book list and this year I saw her trying to impress others with the number of books she read. Again I reminded her that the number is not important and people's tastes, abilities and desire to read are all different. I told my kids that this is another one of those programs to try to motivate kids to read. My DS7, who reads when he wants to, let me know the first day that he wasn't going to read to meet the goal of 25 books (easy or picture books) or 15 chapter books in 6 weeks. I told him that it was fine. Again it wasn't about how many books he read but the joy of reading. I am always amazed by the lists that come up. There was one kid, who apparently, spend the days at the library and read 100 books in 6 weeks??? Who knows? And if so, I hope he had a great time!! :) Anyway....

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