I’ve spent the past week visiting local elementary schools to promote our library system’s Summer Reading Club. I’ve spoken to over 400 children so far, and I still have four more visits to do tomorrow! I’m in danger of losing my voice, but thankfully not my enthusiasm. I love the Summer Reading Club! I really appreciate my system’s approach to summer reading – we ask students to read for at least 15 minutes a day, and after 50 days they get a medal! That’s it! We don’t care what kinds of books kids read, we don’t care what format they choose to read in, and we don’t care how many books they read, as long as they read (almost) every day!
We also don’t give away a lot of junky prizes, which typically just end up in the landfill – we have a couple of contest draws over the summer, and the prizes are books – the very best prizes of all!
I’m so glad we don’t require kids to read a certain number of books to get their medal – kids read at different speeds, and also read books of different levels and lengths, and no one should be penalised for not meeting an arbitrary goal, especially during the summer!
In honour of the beginning of Summer Reading Club, here’s a wonderful ode to the incredible joys of reading, from one of my absolute favourite poets, a man who truly understands and embraces the spirit of childhood.
I met a dragon face to face
the year when I was ten,
I took a trip to outer space,
I braved a pirate’s den,
I wrestled with a wicked troll,
and fought a great white shark,
I trailed a rabbit down a hole,
I hunted for a snark.
I stowed aboard a submarine,
I opened magic doors,
I traveled in a time machine,
and searched for dinosaurs,
I climbed atop a giant’s head,
I found a pot of gold,
I did all this in books I read
when I was ten years old.
Here’s the those lazy, hazy, crazy reading days of summer!