As a child, I loved reading. I was a bookworm and would devour book after book, building my own small collection from early on. When I married my husband, I hauled all my books with me (and yes, I remember him asking me what was in some of my heavy boxes!). It was the one collection I didn’t want to part with.
As our children started coming along and I would browse through the local second hand stores, that small collection of not-quite a full bookcase turned into 4+ bookcases. Much to the chagrin of my husband (ok, slight exaggeration there, he just likes to tease me about getting rid of books), who is not much of a reader, I would totally dedicate a room to nothing but books and create our own little library of floor to ceiling, wall to wall books. Thankfully, he’s okay with the books we have and he’s fully supportive of encouraging our children’s thirst for reading.
We are both thankful that all 5 of our children have shown a love for reading. Oh, they love the game console, their Leap Pads and other things as well, but we’ve made a point to limit those and encourage reading. Before bed each night (as long as it’s not too late), they’re allowed to read. Some nights, I’ll go turn lights off at 11:00 PM and realize our oldest son (10 yr) is trying to finish a book he’s started. While I don’t want him to stay up that late, it does this mama’s heart good to see he loves his books.
School has been out for almost a month now, give or take, depending on when your school ended. We, personally, are still muddling through some school work that needed to be finished up and now that it’s triple digits where we live, the kids have to spend more time inside so I’m giving them a reading challenge for the next month (and I might even extend it until school starts). It will give them something to do besides wanting to play games or get into mischief.
I first heard about the Empty Shelf Challenge from Jon Acuff and fell in love with the concept. Basically, you empty a shelf and refill it as you read books throughout the year. At the end of the year, you can see what and how many books you finished. We don’t really have a shelf to empty (not unless I boxed up books), so I picked up some bins from our local DollarTree and we’ll fill those. Since this is just a month long challenge, I don’t think we’ll run into a problem with overfilling the bins.
[Tweet “We’re joining the #PSEmptyShelfChallenge for kids as we finish summer.”]
If you don’t have a shelf, basket or bin to use or if you do but want to keep track of the books on paper as well, I’ve made a reading log for you to print.
Want to join us on our Empty-Shelf Summer Reading Challenge? Here’s how to start:
Find a Place
- Empty a bookshelf, use a large basket, bin or find a place that can be dedicated to storing the books your children read
Make a plan
- Which books do you want your children to read – here are some fabulous reading lists –
- How many do you think they can successfully read over the summer and set some goals/reward levels accordingly
- Make a trip to the library or hit up some garage sales/thrift stores
Fill the Shelf (box, bin or?)
- Add the completed books to the empty shelf, box, bin or the dedicated spot
- If you’re borrowing from the library, fill out a 3×5 card and add it to the shelf so you can return the actual book
At the end of the summer, let your kids pick their reward based on how many books they’ve read. Here are some fun ideas:
- Family Game Night
- Game time on the Xbox, Wii, or ?
- Movie night (home or theater)
- Trip to the local dollar store
- Picking a prize from a treasure box (supplied by dollar store goodies)
- Picking a dessert
- Dinner out
- Online credit to Amazon, iTunes or a gift card
And don’t forget to participate in these reading programs for them to earn fun rewards:
- BOOK IT! Summer Reading Challenge – June 22 – Aug 15
- BOOK IT! School Year Enrollment 2015-2016
- Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge
- Barnes & Noble Kids’ Club
- Chuck E Cheese Rewards Calendars
- Braum’s Book Buddy – watch for 2015-2016 enrollment opening
- Six Flags Read to Succeed – watch for 2015-2016 enrollment
- Check your local library to see if they offer any reading programs
Want to participate in the challenge? Take a picture of your empty shelf and share it on the Practical Savings Facebook wall or on Twitter or Instagram, use hashtag #PSEmptyShelfChallenge. Let’s continue to encourage a love for reading!