To Read or To Unplug?

photo from evelynishere @ flickr.com

Do you let your kids completely unplug over the summer, or do you keep them reading?

If they are reading, what books are they enjoying? Please include the age and gender of your child/ren.

And for even more fun, tell me what books you enjoyed reading as a kid and what you remember liking about them.

So what books do your kids love? Are they the same ones you loved? Or is everybody taking the summer off?

16 responses to “To Read or To Unplug?

  1. We are definitely not taking the summer off…in fact, we use it as a way to devour all the books we can because there truly is a lot of choice in the summer, unlike in school. My 8 year old son just finished three hysterical books (The Legend of Spud Murphy, The Worst Boy in the World and The Legend of Captain Crow’s Teeth) by Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl author) featuring a family of brothers who are always up to no good but always learn a good lesson in the end.

    We also re-read the Ramona books (up through her 4th grade year) in preparation for the big movie release today!

    The summer favorite so far has been Lucky: Maris, Mantle and My Best Summer Ever by Wes Tooke. I have a huge baseball fan on my hands, particularly a fan of the Yankees and the main character of this wonderful book scores a job being a bat boy for the Yankees in the summer of 1961 when Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle were battling to beat the homerun record set by the Babe. We highly recommend it!

    Summer is the perfect time to learn the love of reading…enjoy!

  2. When I was a kid, taking the summer off meant I was reading all summer. That’s all I wanted to do. My favorite books in the world are still the Narnia books, but I also loved Gordon Korman’s books – largely forgotten, but extremely funny. Another one from the old days that I loved was The Cricket in Times Square, and of course The Phantom Tollbooth. I could go on for pages!

  3. Summer time is reading time! In the summer, there is more time for the public library than during the school year. As kids, we’d bring home stacks of books from the library, stay up late reading them, then return for more. I enjoyed Nancy Drew, Black Stallion, Narnia, Lois Duncan. Right now, I’ve been reading “Mistress of Death” series, Charlaine Harris’s Aurora Teagarden mysteries (have read her Sookie Stackhouse books), Anne Perry’s detective series, Elizabeth George, Elizabeth Chadwick.

    The 12 yr old girl in the house is reading lots of manga, Daniel X, Tamora Pierce. The 8 yr old boy is reading the Percy Jackson/Lightening Thief series, Garlfield & Peanuts comic strip books, and Bailey School Kids. We do some reading together (Percy Jackson) and he does reading on his own.

    We’ve also enjoyed the Eragon series, Charlie Bone, Fablehaven, and Inkheart series.

  4. You know, I could live in the library, Barnes and Noble etc…It’s one of my favorite places to be. I love to read, although the business of life keeps me from really sinking my teeth into a novel these days. Most of what I’m reading now is decorating/painting books with quick blurbs and great pictures. Anyway, my point is…my kids don’t like to read! Ugh, God, someone stab me in the heart! I read to them in the womb, for Pete’s sake, and not one of them is a big reader! If they didn’t have to read a summer reading book, assigned by the school, they wouldn’t read at all! It’s so SAD! Every time I suggest they read a book they look at me as if I have 5 heads! I even check interesting books out of the library for them in hopes that it may spark an interest, but alas, it doesn’t! They love the library though, for free CDs, DVDs & computer time, but read a book…have I lost my mind! If they HAVE TO READ (anything other than Teen Magazines) then it’s usually romance. Hannah actually reads more than any of them and she loves mysteries. If you have any suggestions for getting kids to read please, I’d love to hear ‘um!

  5. Well, we have a 3 and 4 1/2 year old. When #2 was born we found this book “I’m a Big Brother” by Ronnie Randall and Kristina Stephenson. I bought it because it resembled our family so much. Whenever I read it, I substitute the names in the book with my kids names. My kids think the book was written about them.
    Jay loves to read even though he doesn’t really know how. I love that. I have read books to him since he was very tiny. He really enjoyed when I read “James and the Giant Peach.”
    Cole, on the other hand, loves to be read to, but so far has not shown an interest in flipping through pages himself.
    I would love the time to read a novel, that would be a luxury. I read a lot about bettering my technical knowledge.

  6. @Mary – I wish there was a formula for getting kids more interested in reading. You have my sympathy – my husband I both are readers, and we’re so grateful the kids are, too.

    One thing I notice is that when it comes to boys, around grade 2 and 3 when they start pushing chapter books in elementary school, the book selection goes down. My son likes to read, but he’s not ready to branch off entirely on his own with Percy Jackson/Lightning Thief series (we read those together). On the other hand, he’s bored with “Nate the Great” because they’re too easy. I have a hard time finding books that are challenging enough for him, but not too “adult” in content, or too scary (he’s a tender soul!).

    He is 8 years old – he enjoys reading Garfield, Snoopy, Calvin & Hobbes – and often checks those out from the library. I’d prefer some chapter books, and sometimes he gets those, too: Magic Treehouse, Bailey School Kids, and anything else I can toss in his bag without him noticing (though he doesn’t always read what I put in!)

    If they’re interested in magazines, let them read magazines: sometimes there are some excerpts from good books in there (used to be, anyway). Some kids gravitate toward the non-fiction offerings. At least they’re reading SOMETHING. Is there a book you could read together, book club style? If they’ve seen Harry Potter movies, would they be interested in the book, for instance? Do they like graphic novels, or the manga books?

    Hang in there!

  7. Annette Sturdevant

    One summer, my brother and I started a lending library business in the neighborhood from the front screened porch. There was a natural joy to it, an ease. However, those were the days before other distractions, the 1960’s.

    My mother was a role model because she always had a book at hand. (OK, she had a drink at hand almost every evening, but no one is perfect.) The public library was a stable part of my life. However, no pushy stuff: my mother didn’t have that in her. She read to my brother and I almost every night until I was 11 because we all loved that.

    For my kids, I shopped for them at the library, catering to their tastes: Tin Tin for my son, Peanuts and Garfield for my daughter, for example. I always tried to find fun books for them at the library during the summer.

    When they were older, this became more difficult. I have to admit I paid my son 10 dollars to read “Angela’s Ashes” one summer. I was frustrated he wasn’t reading! I don’t regret it. He loved the book.🙂

    • Annette:

      I love the idea of setting up a lending library. My son has an informal list of all the books he has let other kids borrow, but a real flow of books would be really cool! My son is dangerously close to completing the entire Pendragon series (10 books, all over 450 pages). They are kinda science-fictiony, and I’m wondering where to go from here. I hope he never loses his love for books. I’d hate to think I’d ever have to pay him to read. Is it school that beats the love of books out of so many of them? Sigh.

  8. Brian Coleman

    My 11-year-old girl is completely taken by “The Hobbit” this summer. But she has also read the Wimpy Kid diaries and loves them.

  9. The Bobbsey Twins! (From years gone-by.) I like the idea of schools assigning children books to read over summer vacation.

  10. Right now Amanda (my 15 month old) is just starting to let us read to her. It’s been a struggle. We are working with the Sandra Boyton books and a handful of Fisher-Price little people books with flip up tabs that she would rather tear off than read. Amanda also likes to “read” to herself. She will sit in front of her book case and pull out each book one by one, flip through the pages and then leave them on the floor – we are working on putting things away. I’m hoping that she is actually enjoying the time looking at the pages when she is sitting nicely “reading” because she certainly doesn’t seem to like it when we read to her.

    Summers will definitely be for reading when she is older. I think there is so much more available for kids today then when we were kids and it would be a shame for her not to love books the way I do.

    As for me – I remember reading during the summer but not as much as I did during the school year because I spent a lot of time at camp which didn’t always leave time for reading. My favorite book series from what I remember were Nancy Drew and the Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. I also liked Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Ronald Dahl and Beatrix Potter. As I got older – into my teen years, I started getting into the classics – Dickens, Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Jane Austin, and more. I’m still like to read, and right now I’m reading (or rather trying to read) The Girl Who Played with Fire. If you have the stomach for it – the late Stieg Larsson books are a very good read.

    • Cut yourself some slack! You have a baby! All she is supposed to do is sleep, eat, pee, poo and look cute. The reading will come later! If she sees you with a book, she’ll eventually learn to like books. And trust me, no one ever goes off to college tearing off the tabs to their board books!😉

  11. I’m a huge reader. I make a trek to the library about every 2 weeks and leave with as much as I can stuff in one of those reusable grocery bags. I’m never without a book. You never know when you’ll have 5 mins with nothing to do.

    When I was a kid, I hated reading. My dad was/is a big reader, but I refused. One summer when I was about 9-10 my parents left us with a friend of theirs every day while they went to work. She had 3 boys. Add my little brother and I was the only girl surrounded by cops and robbers games and the desire to dig in the dirt. I was much to girly for that nonsense! My mom’s friend got very tired of my constant attention as I had no other choice but to follow her around. She made a rule. Each day I had to spend at least 2 hours reading, if I did that I could follow her around and she’d teach me to do whatever her activity of the day was (baking, gardening etc). Otherwise I was to buck up and play with the boys. Having all boys the book available to me were the Hardy Boys series. I read them all that summer. By the start of the school year I had gotten half way through Nancy Drew and then discovered the library with my dad…the rest is ancient history and thousands of books I tore into with a vengeance!

    I think it was just having been forced to do it that made me learn to enjoy it. I still think of her regularly while I wander the library.

    My 13 year old hates to read, but I drag him to the library with me and make him look for something, anything, that interests him. I generally get him out of there with one book, though he rarely finishes one.

    My 18 month old gets almost as many books as I do when we go. He isn’t allowed to look at them alone, he tears them and eats the pages, but he’s the only baby I know who gets excited when you ask him if he’s ready for a nap, or bedtime, not because he’s tired, but because he gets storytime!

  12. I love to read and, luckily, so do the girls. My 12 -year-old got interested a few years back when we read the Percy Jackson series together. She kept it up this year because they made her read 25 books during the school year. She likes Suzanne Collins, Judy Blume (one of my favorites when I was her age), and recently read When You Reach Me and The Book Thief (which is now on my nightstand to read). The 4-year-old loves to read and has her own shelf in my library. I let her pick out whatever books she wants at the library and have found some fun ones that way. We love the dinosaur series by Yolen/Teague.

  13. You must keep your kids reading. Learning to read is the most fundamental issue that we have in our society today. Unfortunately, I know first hand of many adults that have graduated from high school and don’t know how to read.

    As my child’s advocate, I have taken it upon myself to make sure my 2 boys learn how to read, then read to learn. That is why I created my blog about the journey of a reading program that I discovered. Here is my blog.
    http://www.early-reading.org

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