One thing we always do with our summers is read. We have participated in the summer reading program at our library every year since Sweetheart was 3. Our goal is always for each girl to read/listen to 100 books. At the end of the summer they get a certificate, an ice cream and a free book. It's one of their favorite things.
Last summer a librarian had told us that the "teen" program began at age 12 so we assumed Sweetheart would have to do the teen program this year. But...I noticed that the children's program runs from 0-12 years. So, it looks like she can pick. Honestly, the children's program is way cooler and I'm going to encourage her to take advantage of it one last year. We'll see.
Choosing books for Sweetheart has been a struggle. Since we were using Sonlight this year, we didn't have to worry about it too much. She had plenty to read during the school year! But the juvenile section is so different. On the one hand, she has outgrown a lot of books. The ones she used to love: the Hank the Cowdog series, Cam Jansen, the American Girl books....they are all too easy for her and she's read them all. Others are too weird and inappropriate. I can't possibly pre-read everything.
So she ends up reading things that don't challenge her at all. She reads from our shelves--like Magic Tree House books that she's read 100 times each. No challenge at all. At the library she gets things like BabyMouse books. Now BabyMouse is funny. I know because she pestered me until I read them with her. But she can tear through 2 BabyMouse books on the way home from the library!
The answer for this summer came in the form of an e-mail from Sonlight. They had put together "Summer Reading Packages" for elementary, middle, and high school--separated by boys and girls. You can buy the packages, but we need to save our money for next year's curriculum. So, I'm hitting up the library for these titles.
I trust Sonlight, but I still wanted to pre-read these titles. I just don't fully trust "big kid" books. They delve into bigger problems than say, the Berenstain Bears do. You know? The first title I read was Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters. I LOVED it. Sweetheart is reading it now. She found out over the weekend that her cousin is reading the same book and her good friend just finished it. Extra motivation!
So then something happened that really, really encouraged me and made me realize that my child is truly becoming LITERATE. I don't mean "literate" as in "can read", but "literate" as in "well read." I'm pre-reading the next title, Penny From Heaven. The book was lying next to where I was sitting. As usual, the annoying library bar code covers up important information on the front of the book. This time, the author's first name. But Sweetheart noticed the author's middle initial and last name: L. Holm.
Sweetheart: Is that Jennifer L. Holm?
Me: I have no idea.
Sweetheart: (flipping to inside the book) Because if it is, she's the one who writes BabyMouse.
Me: *thinking: really? Wow. Those two books are really different from each other!* Well, go look inside the BabyMouse book and see if it lists this one.
It did. My child recognizes authors! That is so cool!! And now she's excited to read the next book because it's by an author she likes. The other day she asked me who my favorite authors were and I was all...Duuuuhhhh. Then she proceeded to list her favorite three.
So that is our plan for summer reading. And Little Bit will be reading to me this year! (And I'll be reading to her as well.) Tomorrow I'll share my other plans for our summer. I think I've found a unifying way for a 12 year old and an 8 year old to do some fun things together.