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Is there anything more rewarding than igniting a love of reading in your child? As homeschooling mamas, it is truly one of our most important jobs. It begins with our sweet infants nestled on our laps as we sing to them or chant silly rhymes. Then comes board books and pictures books as we read favorite stories over and over to our toddlers. Next we move to chapter books as we cuddle on the couch enjoying Little House on the Prairie and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. Finally, we reach the stage where we can discuss great literature and ideas with our teens and we realized it happened. We succeeded in raising readers in a today's electronic media saturated world.
Reading aloud to my children when they were all young was a top priority. Each day before quiet time we would all snuggle on the couch and read (and re-read) our favorite books. We visited the library every week, went to story time and participated in the summer reading program. I even started a Literary Club for homeschoolers in my home! (More details about that in a future post.)
But as my older children grew into their teens and the calendar grew fuller, I began to notice that story time for my littles was beginning to fall away. It became more and more inconsistent as the demands on my time increased with each passing year. Finally, I realized that reading needed to become a priority once again, even if that meant something else would have to go. We started by reinstating our weekly library visits. We rediscovered the joy of old familiar books and authors and began discovering new favorites. But best of all, it was at the library that I discovered the inspiration for this free resource that I am sharing with you all today.
Hudson after completing the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program and getting his picture taken with his favorite book.
Our local library offers an excellent program called 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. It is an incentive to read 1,000 books to your preschooler before they begin kindergarten...kind of like the name implies. :-) When you sign up for the program, you are given a notebook with pages for your child to mark off each book they read (or that is read to them). Each time they read 200 books, they can bring their notebook into the library to receive a small prize. After they finish reading 1,000 books, they get to choose a brand new book!
I decided to sign up my preschooler as motivation to be more consistent in reading to him. I am so glad I did! Hudson loved marking off his books in his notebook and he got so excited to visit the library every week. Even better, big sister (age 8) got excited too and decided she was going to help him reach his goal faster. She jumped in and began reading to him daily. Between the two of us (and with some help from Dad) Hudson finished his 1,000 books in less than 8 months!
But neither Hudson nor big sister were ready to stop. That's when I decided to create my own version of the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program and keep going. Our new goal was now to read 1,000 books every year until Hudson was ready for kindergarten.
My Reading Record Notebook contains pages for your child to mark off every book they read, but so much more! We've created fun activity pages for your pre-reader, including narration, coloring, story book scavenger hunts, story time bingo and more.
Hudson has another big pile of books to mark off in his notebook!
I created a sheet of reward coupons in My Reading Record Notebook for you to use with your child. You can make these rewards for anything: time with mom or dad, playing a game, going for ice cream or other special treats. I bought a plasic tote and created a "prize bucket" similar to what they offer at our local library.
My prize bucket currently contains:
I will continue to add to the bucket as we go, finding things here or there that I think he will like. It's really not the prize that's important so much as the feeling of accomplishment your preschooler gets from reaching their goals.
Here are a few more of the activity pages included in My Reading Record Notebook:
We've included a certificate for you to print out and give to your child. How excited will they be to hang this on the refrigerator to show Daddy or Grandma and Grandpa?!?
When we have completed Hudson's second round of 1,000 books, I plan to take him to a local bookstore and let him pick out a new book. Big sister will probably deserve one too with as much time as she spends reading to him!
I hope this free resource helps to inspire you to be consistent and intentional about reading with your child. I pray it blesses your family as richly as it has mine! To download My Reading Record Notebook, just click on the image below.
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