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Your kids are likely a little more than half way through their summer vacation. You and kiddos resolved that this summer would be different–they would read and they would read consistently throughout the summer. Cuz you know it’s good for them (and tastes better than spinach).

But here it is, mid-summer, and everyone’s resolve is wavering. How do you jump start the reading? It’s an easy, one-step trick.

Let your kid pick the reading material.

Oh no, you wail, tearing into the street, heedless of oncoming traffic. But what if…

  • My kid chooses comic books;
  • My kid chooses books of less than stellar literary merit;
  • My kid chooses a cookbook or a how-to book;
  • My kid chooses a book with a lot of pictures;
  • My kid choose a book that’s not on the AR (or substitute your school’s reading program) list;
  • My kid chooses a book he or she has already read…
  • or a book too easy or a book too hard or a magazine or (fill in the blank with your concern).

What if? Well, bottom line, it does not matter. Really truly, it does not matter what they read. Research shows that what matters is the number of words they read and that they read consistently.

Remember that there are many purposes for reading and therefore many reasons for “teaching” reading. Summer reading, leisure reading, vacation reading, non-school reading develops the fluency and skills that lead to lifelong reading.

Reading is not merely an academic endeavor. Think about it: How would you like it if

  1. someone always dictated to you what you could and could not read,
  2. someone always “quizzed” you on it, either formally or informally, and
  3. someone was always handing you books like Moby Dick (I’d run out screaming into the street!)

You wouldn’t like it one bit, would you? And would you want to read very much if that’s what always happened when you tried? You betcha wouldn’t! 🙂

Your kid’s no different.

So recharge summer reading. Let the kiddos do the choosing!

It’s what summer’s for,



Librarians promote summer reading programs with research and statistics that show that summer reading prevents “summer slide, ” the loss that children experience in reading and other academics if they “do nothing” during the summer.

If you want visuals to demonstrate the effects of “summer slide” year after year, this video is tremendous.

Two points to remember:

  • We’re not just talking about losses in reading. This happens in all subject and learning areas.
  • And this is not a promotional for summer schools. Every kid needs downtime and free play and a break from very “schooly” activities and routines. But they also need exposure to new things, and constructive, developmentally appropriate activities, and fun enrichments– things that are not very often present for children in lower income or poverty families. The video shows how these things make a difference over the years.

So support summer programs for all kids but especially those who do without so much.

Share the video!


from l to r: Candy Castle, Ice Cream Float River, Lollipop Woods, music and story areas, Gumdrop Mountains, Peppermint Forest

Yesterday we played Candy Land for summer reading.

Trail to the Ice Cream Float River

The Gingerbread Tree

But we played outdoors with no boards. We played Life-Sized Candy Land! The kids were the game pieces and they moved around the “board” in the park as I called out colors.

Music with Jim and the Gingerbread Baby

We also had someone reading The Gingerbread Baby by Brett and Hansel and Gretel by Marshall, a craft area for making a take-home gingerbread person, and a fabulous musician with his gingerbread friend. Kids moved from area to area as a group finished playing the game.

It took a week’s worth of prep with lots of help from all the staff and lots of helping hands that day (thank to all!). But we had no wind, a great turnout, and lots of fun, involved kids.

Who else has played a life-sized board game?


It’s almost that time, everyone! Summer Reading does fast approach. We’ll start registration this Saturday, May 15th, either online at (and then look for the link in the left column) or register at the library. (It makes our planning easier if you register online.) But don’t panic! Registration runs through June 30th.

Click here to see info on the program in brief.

Click here for summary of directions (and keep reading here, too).

Click here to see the schedule of programs. Notice this year we have one set of programs for all ages, one set for ages six and under, and one for ages seven and up (especially “up’ ;-)). Dates and times will vary between the groups so check it carefully!

Also new this year will be weekly drawings (rather than the big end-of-the-summer drawings). Each week that your child completes his or her “reading brick,” they’ll get to put their name in for that week’s drawing. Drawings will happen at the programs and you must be present to win. (We will still have a weekly prize box they can select from, too, after turning in their brick.)

To complete a “reading brick,” your child needs to be read to, read to someone else, or read on their own for fifteen minutes a day. Why fifteen minutes? That’s the amount of reading that prevents “summer slide.” If children do not read during the summer, they will actually begin school in the fall at a lower reading level than when they left in the spring. So get ’em reading! And remember, they can read anything–really, truly, honest to goodness, any type of reading works! In fact, if they pick it out, it “works” even better.

If your child is too young for fifteen minutes a day, never fear! Activity bricks are here! Each of these bricks list six activities that support the growth of early literacy skills. Early literacy skills are very basic skills that help your child be ready to learn to read years later when they begin school. No teaching is involved; just having fun with some simple, do-it-together activities.  Each time you and your child complete an activity, check it off. Once completed, bring in the brick and we’ll put your child’s name in for the drawing. (Selecting from the weekly prize box is an option but it is at a parent’s discretion; all prizes may not be suitable for ages three and under.)

For more information, email me at or call 589-6592 and speak with any staff librarian. There will also be program updates in the Valley Courier newspaper each week and a few more postings here as well. Help spread the word!

Looking forward to a great summer! Let’s build it!


As much as I love you guys, I’m taking some downtime beginning this week.beach I’ll be back the week of July 19th. 🙂

Reading logs continue as usual. Any of the librarians can help you any day of the week.

Schedule changes for that time period include:

ALL Wednesday morning programs will continue, 10:30 a.m.

  • June 24 in Cole Park
  • July 1 in the Old Museum
  • July 8 in Cole Park
  • July 15 in Cole Park
  • July 22 Theatre Production at Boys & Girls Club

Thursday morning programs are CANCELLED. They will resume July 16 at 10:15 a.m. in the library.

Miss me terribly? Then check out my older posts; they go all the way back to September! Just scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “previous.”

Remember, it’s summer. Have fun with your kids!


Kids either love ’em or hate ’em–the infamous Summer Reading List!

Here’s Joe’s take on his from One Big Happy.



OK, operative word in that headline (in case you didn’t notice) is FUN!

What kind of fun? All types certainly; it’s what summer break is about (or are you too ooolllddd to remember that?). But I want to talk about fun thasummert includes reading.

Kids love summer break. AND kids get bored. And they are honest enough to admit to both.

They need and want things to do in the summer and reading is one of the best and the most fun. But many of us adults spoil it.

Yep, the kids greet vacation time and “turn off” from school mode, but we adults have a harder time. Everyone needs downtime (did you know research has shown reading to be one of the best stress reducers, right up there with meditation?). Reading needs downtime too.

Let the kids read–whatever they want, whenever they want. If they don’t want to, set up a thirty minute a day quiet time when they sit down with a book or magazine.

But THEY get to choose the what! Choice is one of the elements that makes reading happen, even for reluctant readers. Number of words read is another factor. Both those elements can easily be a part of reading during the summer.

Notice, I did not mention reading levels, improving reading, quality of the book, quizzes, or comprehension questions. Put all that aside for the summer. If they want to read Goosebumps, Babysitters Club, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, car magazines, computer magazines, gaming magazines–(you get the idea?)–let them just read!

And when you see them reading and think “ick, why are they reading that?!” just repeat your summer mantra–“Number of Words, Choice of Book.”

Want to read more? Here’s a great article by Charlotte Canelli.

Have FUN!


These are primarily for ages 3ish to 6 ish.

Scroll down in the left column to the pages for Singing Games which will give you the words and directions.

Listen here for the tunes.

Have fun!


What’s Summer Slide? The latest water park? Or summer toy?A powerpoint slidefor kids?

Nope, it’s what happens when kids don’t read over the summer. They end the school year at one reading level–and return in the fall at a lower level.

And it’s one of the big reasons librarians and teachers encourage Summer Reading programs. 🙂

It really doesn’t take much to prevent summer slide. Just 15 minutes a day–a child can read silently or to someone else or have someone read aloud to a him or her. 15 minutes a day holds summer slide at bay.

And type or content of reading doesn’t matter. Kids can read books certainly, but they can also read cereal boxes, recipes, comic books, magazines, anything with words!

And get your kids involved in the process. I tell kids it will make school easier in the fall. Encourage kids to pick out what they want to read (choice is an element in motivation in reading). Make you reading aloud to them a summer treat, no matter what their age. Make summer a time for leisure, fun reading–and wave the summer slide goodbye.

Have fun!


This week of May 24 is dedicated to getting all the last minute matters for Summer Reading done. You won’t be hearing much from me here on the blog as a result. 😉 I will be back next week though.


  • catrow-spot-1June 3  Lisa Moore and The Penny Project by the Train
  • June 10  Games in the Park: Get Creative with Play, Cole Park
  • June 17  Christine Jones-Daboll, drama & music, by the Train
  • June 24  Games in the Park: Get Creative with Play, Cole Park
  • July 1  Peggy Godfrey,  Sidewalk Poetry, check back for location
  • July 8  Games in the Park: Get Creative with Play, Cole Park
  • July 15  Games in the Park: Get Creative with Play, Cole Park
  • July 22 Shadows & Journeys, Now or Never Theatre from Boulder,  CO, Special location: Boys & Girls Club, Alamosa
  • July 29  Games, Awards, and Ice Cream by the Train

hopscotchIs there a connection between reading and playing? The jury may still be out on a firm conclusion but the articles linked below are very persuasive that there may be a connection.

And why not play games? What have we or our children to lose? Over the last couple decades, schools have taught and tested our children at younger and younger ages–yet scores have continued to decline.

Earlier is not better. Dr. David Elkind wrote in the 80’s about research showing that if we taught children too soon (in other words, taught them things that were not age appropriate) that they did not truly learn those things, they became stressed out, and by third grade they hated school.

So here’s to games and letting kids be kids!

School Recess Improves Behavior

Oakland Group Seeks More Play in School Day (summary and audio)

The 3 R’s? A Fourth is Crucial Too: Recess (based on a study from the journal Pediatrics)

And tell me what you think!


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Contact Info for Babette

email babette(dot)reeves(at)gmail(dot)com
snail mail
73 State Avenue
Alamosa, CO 81101

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