If you’re like me, you’re getting ready to pack away the school books and enjoy a well-earned summer break. Family vacations, camp, swimming lessons, play dates, later bedtimes, vacation Bible school, and the Fourth of July are just a few of the activities we all have to look forward to.
Time for Summer Reading
One of our family’s favorite summer pastimes is participating in our local library’s reading program. What could be better than stretching out in the sun (or in a nice air-conditioned house) with a good book? Or a pile of good books for that matter? A summer reading program is an excellent opportunity for kids to develop reading habits and continue to learn new things. It also encourages them to set realistic goals by keeping track of how much they read. They can do this by logging their hours or books online or by filling a chart with stickers that the library provides.
I always enjoy watching my daughters’ excitement build as they add stickers and get closer to reaching their goals. And as kids complete so many hours or books, they earn a small prize; for example, a pencil for every five books or five hours spent reading, a medal for the next five, a coupon for a free food item for the next five, and so forth. If a child finishes the reading program in due time, they’ll receive a bigger prize. But for me, the best reward is seeing my girls grow in their love for reading and develop greater reading comprehension. The more they read, the more they learn; and the more they want to learn, the more they want to read. It’s a beautiful cycle!
Time for Fun
Besides the reading program, libraries also offer many fun educational events throughout the summer. Our family has experienced a petting zoo, seen a professional juggler, participated in a puppet show, and even met a real beaver belonging to one of our own “next-town” neighbors—all at our local library! Many of these shows have piqued our daughters’ interest in certain subjects and encouraged them to check out books related to them. This further stimulates their love of learning and reading.
Time for Outreach
Most importantly, these library events provide good opportunities to meet other families in the community for potential gospel outreach. Your family can be salt and light before your local librarians too. Conversations about reading, school, and your children may lead to spiritual topics. We should always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks the reason for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15).
So as you start filling out your summer calendar, remember to include a library reading program. Books are waiting to be read, imaginations are ready to be kindled, and souls may be prepared to hear the good news of salvation.
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Jennifer is a pastor’s wife and mom of two young girls and loves being able to homeschool them. During her own twelve years of homeschooling, Jennifer developed a passion for reading and writing. She earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and relishes writing during her free time.