Monday, July 1, 2013

What should we do?

    Despite the mild weather we’ve been blessed with, it is indeed summer. I know this because I have four kids at home on summer break. Yes, four of them – all day, every day, ranging in ages ten to sixteen. I am tasked with a lot of creative entertaining. For those of you facing the endless barrage of “What should we do now?” questions, I have three words for you: summer reading programs. 
     We live in St. Peters, less than a mile from the Spencer Road Library. This branch is part of the St. Charles City-County Library system which hosts a fantastic summer reading program for readers of every age. This year's program is called Dig Into Reading. Here are my top ten reasons for checking out the library’s programs.

   1. It’s free! No additional comments needed. 

   2. Any additional reading helps prevent the dreaded summer-slide. Kids lose a lot of ground over the long break, regardless of their starting point. Programs like this keep them engaged, their minds working, and limit regression. 

   3. The programs help keep the kids busy. Different ages and grade levels have varied expectations but the end result is the same, the kids are occupied with something other than television or video games. 

   4. The kids are quiet. Think what you want, but sometimes we just need a little quiet time. If they are reading, they are not talking (or yelling, singing, humming, whistling, etc). 

   5. There are prizes! I vividly recall the day last year when we trooped to Sonic to redeem all our ice cream coupons. For five glorious minutes we sat quietly in the car at Sonic, enjoying a creamy dessert. Those were beautiful minutes. Each of the kids has also received a free new book of their choosing over the past few years. The big kids, i.e. the grown-ups, aren’t left out either though. This year we received a green zippered bag. Fun and functional!

   6. There is a great sense of accomplishment when you turn in your reading log. We all need to set goals and work toward them. It feels fantastic to meet them and help your kids work toward meeting their goals. 

   7. Countless fresh conversations spark all around the house as a result of new books read. I find myself soliciting advice from my oldest daughters for selections and vice versa.  

   8. The kids see us reading and honestly, I think this is hugely important. We have always been avid readers, but the programs remind us to take more time to read each day with our kids. 

   9. You can use your reading minutes to double dip on different reading programs including Take 20 and Read. I wrote a blog post about this county-wide initiative a few months ago. If you haven’t checked out this program, please do so. There is great stuff happening in our community! 

   10. It’s free!

Our library has amazing programs throughout the year. Check out your library and see what it is available. You might be surprised by what you find!  

Photo Credit: St. Charles City-County Library District 



  1. Hi Karen! You are so right. We do have a great library system here. When I was in grade school,(elementary!) and even in high school, summer was when I was buried in books from the library. Nobody actually spent money to BUY books back in the Dark Ages...unless they were gifts for someone else!

  2. Hi Becky, thanks for stopping by. We have such a dynamic library system here with so much to offer throughout the year between the programs for kids and adults. The summer is just great though bc I love reading in my off time. Even when I was young, my mother challenged us to read more often and in a variety of genres. Some of my favorites even today came from those times, like "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Treasure Island."

  3. You offer great advice and encouragement, Karen.
    I haven't yet joined in the library reading programs, but I do attend library functions throughout the year. I am taking advantage of carving out some reading days though. I say "days" because when I start a book i can't put it down until finished. So far this summer I've read some books from my overflowing shelves that have been put off for way too long. Right now I'm halfway through "Sundown Town Duty Station" by our friend and fellow critiquer Jack Zerr. So what if nothing else is getting done?

  4. Hi Marcia - Somehow I missed your comment, sorry for my delay in responding! Isn't it fun to dedicate whole (or mostly whole) days to reading? I just get lost in it. Then, of course, those little people remind me they need to eat or something important like that! I hope you are enjoying John's book. Let me know what you think. I am considering it as a gift for Jeff since he is former Navy as well. Thanks!

  5. I do recommend Sundown Town Duty Station. I haven't read Ensign Locker yet. As you know, Jack has a singular style that rolls with a certain cadence. It did help as I was reading to be able to hear his voice in my ears. The story is so honest, true to point of view, and without guile. Weaving together military experiences with a personal home life could be tricky, but for Jack it's just natural. He loves his family and that's the foundation of his character too. I think Jeff will relate.