Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Four Reading schemes for the Summer

Each summer, there is at least one reading scheme available to try to prevent the reading slide that is said to occur over the holidays. This year, I have heard about four and doubtless, there are more. 

UK libraries have an annual Summer Reading Challenge. This year the theme is Record Breakers. The library scheme

  • requires only six books for completion. It is possible to finish the challenge in a week! Yes, I know from experience!
  • can include audio books or books read to the child
  • encourages discussion about the book when the child reports back to library staff about the book. One of mine was asked quite complex questions about characters in the book.
  • restricts books to those in their local library. 
This scheme has encouraged my children to use the local library and one of my children has started to use the online catalogue and has learned to request books (free for children).

I will list some books which we have enjoyed from our local library as it may be worth looking for these in your library. I know that the selection varies but we have found that requesting books which are within the borough is effective although the inter-library loan system has never worked well for us. Anyway, we have enjoyed
  • Jake the Dog series by Annette Butterworth
  • The Owl who was afraid of the dark and other animal books by Jill Tomlinson
  • Adolphus Tips by Michael Morpurgo. However, Snug  by the same author caused great upset.
  • Alfie books by Shirley Hughes
  • Picture books by Marcia Williams. The Elephant's Friend and other tales from Ancient India was a popular recent find.
  • Usborne early readers although we have failed to find the non-fiction Usborne beginners series.
  • Audio books of the Chronicles of Narnia.
A couple of summers ago, the theme of the Library Summer Reading Challenge was a haunted house and in common, with some other Christian parents, we did not want our children to enter this. One mother kindly set up an alternative reading scheme, Wisdom House. For this scheme, parents or children note all the books read over the summer and certificates are awarded. Wisdom House also produces an occasional newsletter with reviews of Christian children's and adult's books. This scheme is run as a Yahoo group. To subscribe, send an email to wisdomhousereading-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

The Christian Bookshop in Ossett has a reading scheme with discounted books from a selection. There are three books to be read: the first has 1/3 off, the second is half price and the third is free. There are two main age groups: 5-10 and 11+ although there is also an offer on toddler books. This is ideal for anyone trying to build up their library of Christian books.

Finally, why not make up your own customised scheme? Lizzy at Peaches@Home has written about her family's scheme which includes the parents.

Do you join a summer reading scheme or do you find that it is a time when children tend to read more without incentives? We have found that, with appropriate books left around, our children have made some of their most major reading gains over the summer.  Yes, we do use reading schemes but I wonder whether what really matters is having access to plenty of books.

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