My four year old son and I sat cuddled in his bed after finishing our 1,000th book. I signed my kids up for the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program at the library when they were young.
We do a lot of reading before bed. I figured it would be fun to track the reading. Plus, each time the kids returned their list of 100 books read, they received a little prize or book as an incentive to keep reading.
My oldest son and I had completed the book goal almost two years ago. My younger son recently finished. We no longer were using anything to hold us accountable to our reading. And I thrive best on keeping a habit when I’m tracking it.
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1,000 Books for the Summer
I absolutely love to read, and I recognize the importance of reading to my kids. Besides the educational and developmental benefits of reading, I found that it’s one of my favorite ways to spend time with them.
With summer coming up, I knew we would have a little more time to read, and I wanted to make sure that we would still visit the library on a regular basis.
I decided that it would be fun to set a family goal of 1,000 Books for the Summer. I mentioned this overly ambitious goal to my boys to see what they thought. It was important to me that they were on board too. Luckily, they were really excited.
Part of the goal is that the reading has to be done with both kids at once. I felt this would really build on the family goal element. That way the boys would have to work together to choose books and initiate the reading.
We decided to start on Memorial Day Weekend with the goal being to read 1,000 books by the first day back to school in September. If this is accomplished, the prize is a trip to Barnes and Noble to each pick out a new book.
Feeling the excitement of setting a new family goal, and having a deep love for lists, I immediately got out some paper and a clipboard. I wrote on the top our goal, and planned on listing the date, then numbering the books we read.
Why a Family Goal?
Creates family unity
I think it is important for us to work towards something as a family. With the kids being young, there are few tangible things we can all strive for. But using our book list to document how much we are reading, the kids can see our progress towards 1,000 books.
My kids are enthusiastic about meeting this goal. They ask me to read to them frequently, and they enjoy seeing the growth of our list. Since I am such an avid reader, it really brings me joy to see them so excited about reading.
Teaches life skills
In “The Importance of Setting Family Goals – and How to Do It”, Angela Pruess discusses the many benefits of creating a family goal and how to foolproof your family goal setting. She also points out that family goals help kids develop important life skills like self-discipline, commitment, and perseverance.
Communication is another life skill that develops when working together toward a goal. In the case of the family goal we have set, the kids need to speak up and propose times when we can read. They also need to talk with each other to pick out books they both enjoy.
Encourages reading practice
I did not want my son to fall behind in reading over the summer (since this is a new skill for him). The school recommends he spend at least 15 minutes a day reading. Our reading goal supports this recommendation.
Allows quality time with my kids
Since I don’t love playing with my kids, reading allows me to spend quality time with them while doing something we all enjoy. It may sound cheesy, but I feel the most content with the kids while they are snuggled up next to me and I am reading to them.
How to Squeeze in Reading Time as a Family
We have to read about 10 books a day to meet our reading goal this summer. I’ll be honest, we are a bit behind! But now that my son is out of school, we will have more time for the three of us to read together.
Here are times that we read:
- During meal time, specifically dinner. The kids actually eat their food, and are better behaved when I read during dinner. This is one of my favorite times to read.
- When we have some down time. If I find myself with five or ten minutes to spare and the kids aren’t busy, I gather them on the couch for a book.
- If we are waiting somewhere, like the doctors office. I try to always have a book or two with me to get some reading time in.
- At the library. If we go to the library to pick out books, I usually read one or two to the kids while we are there.
- Before bed. This is when we spend the most time with our books. On a good night, I spend about a half hour reading to the kids.
Books We Enjoy Together
There are so many awesome children books out there. Here are a few that we just love reading together and you will too.
We actually love anything by Mercer Mayer. But my younger son seems to relate to this story quite well ;-). It has opened up the conversation for us to talk about times when he felt mad.
Mercer Mayer also has a ton of Little Critter books for beginning readers. These are some of the first books my older son started reading. He especially loves reading this one.
The boys love how defiant Pigeon is about bath time. They especially love when the fly’s start to taunt him for being smelly. He has every excuse in the book not to hop in the bath! Sound familiar?
We also own Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! and enjoy reading this frequently.
The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt
Have you ever wondered how crayons feel once they are opened and put to use? Well I didn’t, but I’m sure glad I found out. This book is laced with humor for every one.
Duncan seems to have (neglectfully) left his crayons in various places. He receives post-cards from each one explaining where they are and why. Some of the crayons have been left far, far, away, and some are just in the basement. But their explanation of what happened and why they are upset is so entertaining. And so are the pictures.
Nibbles The Book Monster, by Emma Yarlett
This is one of the cutest and creative books we have read. Nibbles is a little monster who has an appetite for books! He loves to eat his way through a good story.
Within this book, are a few tiny classic books, like Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk, that Nibbles eats his way through. As we are reading, the kids have to try to find Nibbles and eventually trap him. I love Usborne books, and this is one of their most popular books.
What Will Your Family Summer Goal Be?
If reading is not your thing, here are some other goals you may want to try:
- Taking a family hike/walk once a week
- Visiting all your county parks
- Visiting all the playgrounds in a certain mile radius
- Watching a TV show together once a week
- Spending at least 20 minutes outside each day
You get the idea. So what will your family summer goal be? Let me know in the comments below. And if you already have a family goal, awesome! Share that in the comments also!