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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Starting Summer Reading!

Summer is here. And I have two children that just learned how to read this past school year (my 8 yr old and 11 yr old Ethiopian children). So I knew it was especially important for them to keep up their reading over the summer, not lose their momentum, and hopefully improve their skills a little more before school begins again. 

My kids respond to incentives (don't we all?), and so I instituted a marble jar system in our house. I have a list of activities posted in our kitchen that my kids can earn marbles for doing. They include: reading a book, practicing math, doing their chores without being asked, getting some exercise, choosing to watch something educational on Netflix instead of their normal TV shows they like (we have designated TV times, and they would have to use their TV time to watch something educational instead of watching their normal TV shows + something educational in addition to it), choosing a book from the library to read and then telling us why they liked it or didn't like it (they can earn two marbles for this one). 

I have told them that they can earn as many marbles as they want every day for reading books, but I have put caps on the rest of the activities so that they hopefully will do a little of each most days. 

They are earning marbles like crazy right now... but we are less than a week into summer. Ha! We'll see if the enthusiasm lasts. I woke up Friday morning and found them all reading in the living room (I didn't include a photo of Mary because she was in her jammies and didn't want anybody to see that). 

My little one can't read yet, so that makes the marble jars a little challenging. But when my little guy saw his big brother and sister reading Friday morning, he grabbed a couple wordless picture books and "read" them aloud to us all. We counted that as reading, and let him put a couple marbles in his jar for that.

My kids will get to cash in their marbles at Mommy's Store half way through the summer, and then again at the end. I'll break it up more if they are really struggling to use their marbles, or if they start losing momentum because they have forgotten what they're earning them for. 

So far it's working for us. I'll keep you posted!

We're also participating in our library's summer reading program. And we're going to do the Barnes and Noble summer reading program too! 

Would love to hear from you too! Are your kids anxious to read this summer? Or are you having to kick-start them like me? 

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