Summer is Time to Vacation, Play, and READ

Before you abandon your (finally) perfected daily schedule for the pleasures of summer, get the kids registered for the summer reading program at the library. This is absolutely one of the best activities you can enjoy with your kids, not only to maintain reading skills over the summer but also to engage with your local community.

If your kids are school-age, the teachers have already encouraged you to get the kids to a running start through the reading program. Even very young children (age three) can enroll and earn incentives for the books you read to them. Teens are also included, and most library branches have special events designed to appeal to them that include the teen trinity of Wii, Guitar Hero, and food.

With so much talk about the importance of family time in a difficult economy, the library is a saving grace. The reading program gives BirminghamMoms a wonderful excuse to have a “date” with the kids on a routine basis (in fact, I recommend one to help you return the books on a timely schedule). Whether you can take the kids during the day or evening doesn’t matter; the staff is attentive and encouraging of all the kids’ efforts to read and will wait patiently as they choose the prizes they’ve earned (plan extra time for them to make a wrenching decision between two equally insignificant plastic toys).

And what about mom? There is a reading program for adults that you must check into for yourself. No, it’s not just another thing to keep up with; it’s a chance for you to win grown-up goodies like gift cards, spa certificates, and maybe even a grill (the adult equivalent of the kids’ bicycle prize). Who else is offering you a free chance at these prizes just for your routine reading? Besides, you might turn this into an excuse to enjoy a long-neglected reading binge.

You’re already reading chic lit at the beach, self-help on parenting/dieting/exercise, and perhaps a business book recommended by your insistent boss. It’s worth submitting the titles you’ve read for a chance at a prize, unless of course you are too embarassed by your current trashy novel (there is that devotional booklet you could mention instead…).

Check out the adult reading programs at these branches, with prizes donated by local vendors:

  • Emmet O’Neal (Mountain Brook)
  • Five Points West
  • Hoover
  • Leeds
  • Midfield
  • North Birmingham
  • Pleasant Grove
  • Springville Road
  • Vestavia Hills
  • West End

You are sure to have a branch near home, work, or other activities, and your library card is good at any of them. Borrow books from any branch but join the reading program at the branch you consider to be your community.

You’ll be as excited as the kids to exchange your books for new ones, and hopefully the kids will be inspired by seeing you with a book. I find that enforcing a quiet reading time works better when I’m also reading. It also encourages my reluctant reader to settle in and focus. Reading time is the equivalent of the mom-dictated afternoon nap; every mom needs this as part of her kid-management program.

Let the library help you have a more enjoyable summer filled with stories – your own and others’.