Summer is a great time for kids to soak up the sun, enjoy outdoor sports, and visit with family and friends. With many families' summer schedules already chock full of activities, unfortunately, reading often falls by the wayside. My kids love reading books, but even we've forgone our daily reading before bedtime for occasional evening swims, catching fireflies, or backyard campfires.
Continued reading during summer is critical for young readers to not only continue to develop their skills, but more importantly, to prevent "summer setback". So, what are some ways parents can help keep kids interested and involved in reading throughout the summer? Many Chicagoland libraries offer summer reading programs, which are great ways to help kids stay motivated to read throughout the summer. If your child writes a review of a book they recently read, they can submit it to the Chicago Tribune for the opportunity to be published in Printers Row Journal. While these are all great ideas, why not go a step further and create your own Kids Book Club?
My girlfriends and I have enjoyed participating in our adult book club for several years. While these regular gatherings have been a great way to stay connected to one another and to keep us reading, they've been a bit of a mystery to our children. "What do mommies do at book club?" "Are you mommies writing a book?" are some of the questions we've been asked as we've bid them goodnight (bottle of wine and book in hand) before leaving for book club.
My girlfriend, Steph, decided to demystify the notion of "book club" and keep our kids interested in reading this summer by organizing a Kids Book Club. She recently hosted a "Books and Brunch", our inaugural kids book club gathering, which was a huge hit. Here are some of the highlights.
Books and Brunch - Kids Book Club
Menu: All that reading makes kids hungry, so kids and moms were treated to a delicious brunch, complete with Gluten Free pancakes (with Pamela's mix) and homemade maple syrup, assorted fresh fruit, juice and coffee.
Arts & Crafts Activities: An art table was set up with supplies and paper for kids to draw a picture of their favorite chapter from the book that they had read. Also provided were pre-cut bookmarks that kids could decorate and then take home with them.
Book Sharing: Kids gathered in a circle, book in hand, and went one-by-one sharing their story. Other kids and parents asked questions such as "What is it about?", "What was the best part?", "Where did you get your book?", "Would you recommend this book to a friend?" Books that were shared ranged from non-fiction about spiders, to tales of Huckleberry Finn, Stuart Little, and magical unicorns. One child even brought his Nook to share his Magic Treehouse book (quite the hit with the kids and moms alike).
By keeping the atmosphere relaxed and fun, our kids not only enjoyed sharing their favorite books with friends that day, but also couldn't wait to start turning pages of their next book in preparation for our next Kids Book Club.
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