Tuesday we made a trip to the library and signed up for the Summer Reading Program. Perhaps it was just at the library I grew up frequenting, but I remember the summer reading program with great fondness. I remember signing up and toting home a huge bag full of books. I remember setting huge goals and the prizes that were given as I reached each milestone. Was my experience unique?
Has the summer reading program been dumbed down?
The librarian explained that each child should set a reasonable goal they felt comfortable with...and once they reached their goal, they get a "prize package." She handed each child a "Splash Into Reading" paper on which to record the books they read along with a bookmark and a few stickers.
The "prize package" sounds great...but I remember the health of competition and knowing I'd better pick a book over a tv show...and I remember those wonderful prizes along the way...getting my name put up on the wall, an ice cream sunday from McDonalds, a cheap pair of sunglasses, a dig through the treasure chest. My baby sister assures me my memory is correct. It was a game. It was competition. And it made us pick reading over many other things. I wanted to reach that next milestone...bad.
It's sad to me that so many children in our area will miss out on that aspect of the Summer Reading program. I know all children don't have equal abilities. I never read the most books and I never got the grand prize. That was healthy and good. I learned from that. I realize setting and meeting personal goals are worthy endeavors, but there's just something to the competition. Perhaps we'll find a way to make it a little more exciting in our home.