Monday, June 11, 2012

Reading and Growing Up

There's one thing about summer reading that is bothering me this year.  

I like the library program.  The summer reading program at our local library started at the beginning of this month.  In years past my kids have been pretty excited about this, but as they get older they are less enthusiastic.  I guess I can understand that.  When they were little, getting a little prize every time they went to the library was fun, but tweens and teens aren't that eager to collect temporary tattoos and miniature toys.  The reward structure has been changing for the teen reading program, and it looks like it's a bit different again this year.  The last couple of years the teens have earned "Library Bucks" which can be used to bid in a silent auction on all the prizes available.  The prizes were pretty decent too!  Landon managed to win a few of those the last two years.  This year, instead of a silent auction, the prizes will be raffled.  I think I like that better - the odds are still better for the kids that do more reading and attend more library programs, but it's actually possible for a kid that only has one or two entries to win something.

I like that my kids read.  Obviously! I think it's great that they read, and I know that they would even without the library program or any other bonuses that would come their way.  The library program encourages them to read more and to keep track of what they are reading.  They get opportunities to write book reviews and recommendations through the library program as well (although I'm not sure they  will still be earning raffle entries for writing reviews this year - I have to check on that.).  I try to offer a few incentives for them to expand their reading horizons - reading something outside of their normal choices or reading something they might think is "too hard" for them.

So what's not to like about summer reading for this year?
As I was getting Landon and Kennady signed up and we collected their start-up set up prizes (coupons for a few freebies at local restaurants etc), it hit me.  Kennady is in the Teen Summer Reading Program!  TEEN! Ack!! She's technically in middle school! How did this happen? Who gave my baby girl permission to become a middle schooler, and eventually a teen?  If I don't let her participate, will she stay little for a bit longer?  I guess I don't really want that.  And as for Landon growing up, that's been on my mind a lot lately anyway.  I think he's taller than me.  His voice has changed (although it's always been pitched low, so I honestly didn't notice when it changed! LOL).  He should probably start shaving. o.O  Every time I see him in his CAP uniform I am a little surprised at how grown-up he looks - and sometimes acts.  All the graduation celebrations I've seen lately have struck me with how quickly kids grow up, mine included.
How strange that signing my TEENS up for a summer reading program would occasion my reflection on how quickly they are growing up, but it has.  It was a bittersweet moment standing there at the library desk and watching both of them collect all the information on the prizes and how to earn raffle entries.  
And then when we went home, the first books Kennady read were about fairies and kittens.  Apparently she's not in a huge hurry to be a teen and leave all the little girl things behind her.  She probably hasn't even noticed this abstract change of status in her life. So I've said almost nothing about it.  It is, after all, abstract.
I've decided not to let it bother me either, now that I've had my moments of reflection on how quickly kids grow up.  

I love to read.  I am encouraging my kids to love reading too. So I've changed my mind - nothing about summer reading bothers me except that there are so many books and so little time. 

How do you encourage kids to read when school is out?  Add to the comments, and visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog (this link will be live on Tuesday, June 12th) to see what other Crew members have to say about summer reading.  You can also visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog homepage to see the reviews we are working on, past reviews, and past blog cruise topics.  


Unknown said...

I experienced the same thing when we signed up the kids for our library's summer reading program. I tried to sign up Miss J for the kids program and the Librarian said, "Wait, she needs it sign up for the teen program.". I could have cried right there at the desk! Where has the time gone? She is having a great time logging hours since each hour gets put in a drawing for a Nook!

kewkew said...

First let me say I really like the sound of your summer reading program. I don't even think ours has a program for teens, I am not sure what the cutoff age is. I did however have a similar experience this year. My daughter is no longer in the "read to" category, she now has to register as "independent reader" even though we do a lot of reading together, so I am not sure how to deal with that.
Thanks for sharing on Throwback Thursday. I can't wait to see what you share this week.

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