Alright, maybe Fail is a strong word but in my mind that’s what it feels like.
My library’s Summer Reading Program “Dig Into Reading” officially ended yesterday, July 31st. It started June 1st so that was a little over a month for my Kiddies and I to accomplish something we have never had any trouble doing before. Read. To simply read. This is usually a no effort, no drama accomplishment for us since our family are readers throughout the year. We have nightly story-time and my Teenager and I read throughout the day whenever we have downtime. Yet, this summer for whatever reason it felt like all powers of the book realms were against us.
My Kiddies were required to read at least 24 hours worth of book time in order to earn the prizes to be given out by the library. Prizes, I must tell you, my Kiddies were very anxious to obtain. Since of course, the library had to make a big show with the children’s librarian doing a puppet show and having the puppets each show the Kiddies the prizes. So I was set up from the start. The prizes ranged from a miniature dinosaur (my 2 yr old was aiming for this one), a color change pencil, a color change drinking cup (changed colors when you put cold liquid in it…kinda cool I must say) and a free book of their choosing. My Teenager was required to read a minimum of 5 books in total during the entire program and he would earn the beginning prize of a messenger bag with the Library logo (a detail he was completely unaware of until after he received it which left that prize sitting in the corner of his room simply holding his previously read books). He would have earned a pencil for the next five books and entry into a drawing for a bookstore gift card for the next five books. Honestly, I’m not exactly sure why the messenger bag came before the pencil but not my call I guess. The Adult prizes were a Tumbler with the library logo and an entry into a drawing for a $100 and $50 gift card at a local bookstore. Not to shabby.
Every other year we have earned prizes at every level with no delays or issues. Mainly because fitting reading into our schedule was never anything we had to add into the summer because we did it all year round. This summer was apparently not going to cooperate with my plans. It seemed as if everything possible was working against us. First the library began a new program where instead of, well actually in addition to, the normal system of keeping track of your books read on a simple form with stamps for 20 minute intervals read to your children they were now setting up online profiles -for each individual child- in age group categories as well as a profile for you as an adult. I mean I know everyone is trying to do everything through the internet and social media type set ups but can we just keep things simple? Some things are okay with pen and paper…this was just too much.
So, I went home to create start the process and create profiles for my 2, 4 and 6 year olds that weren’t too invasive for my comfort zone since I don’t particularly like putting their information out there like that. Then I had to help my Teenager set up his profile so he didn’t put out too much information either and then I had to set up my own. It didn’t help that when I asked how to do everything I was distracted with trying to keep said 2, 4 and 6 year olds from grabbing too many books to take home and I missed the part that each profile had to be created in different age level categories of the website. So here’s me trying to keep up the enthusiasm and create profiles that will keep my Kiddies attention the same as drawing hearts on their reading charts. To do this I made their profile picture versions of their favorite story characters (since there was no way I was putting my Kiddies actually pictures online). Just to finish and realize I just added myself and the Teenager to the Children’s categories…DUH!
After a 25 minute conversation with a librarian by phone trying to explain how I’m not an idiot just a slightly overwhelmed, overdone Momma who was trying to wrangle her Kiddies and listen to rather lengthy instructions I finally get the too bad profiles deleted and create two new ones. Whew! Crisis averted. Don’t get me wrong, the online profiles were actually pretty cool once I got them done and was familiar with how they worked. It was just that switch from being so used to drawing the cutsie hearts and stars on my Kiddies charts. Now every time they read a book I had to log on the computer (it didn’t really have a great mobile screen view option). So now we can finally start reading. Which we do. We actually make pretty good progress and the Kiddies earn the first levels of prizes with no real issues.
Then we started Vacation Bible School, a week we all look forward to since our church offers classes for all levels (except the 2 year old he stays with Daddy) including Adults. The only thing is it doesn’t end until around 9 in the evening. It isn’t that bad because they actually serve dinner but by the time we get home the Kiddies are tired and ready to sleep so story-time began to simply get pushed aside or I said I would read in the morning. Of course, in the morning became in the afternoon and then the cycle would simply repeat.
By the end of Vacation Bible School our storytime had somehow disappeared in the mix of activities and playtime outside. Sidewalk chalk playtime in the driveway or riding bikes or simply running errands. Everything was becoming such a priority and by the time we would get home and get bathed from the summer heat i would always hear myself saying we’ll read tomorrow except tomorrow never came.
The sad part is my Girlies (especially my oldest) would actually ask me everynight “Momma can we read a story?” But it would usually be close to 10 or 11pm and I would hear myself saying once again…”No, it’s way past bedtime so we’ll get to bed earlier tomorrow and read then, ok?” Then I would kiss them goodnight, walk out of their room and get that pang of Bad Momma Guilt because I would think would an extra 15-20 minutes really hurt? I would also think- we are not even close to finishing this Summer Reading List. Yet night after night the same scene would play out and June ended then before I knew it July was done and over.
The Teenager meanwhile, became sidetracked with his Band Camp activities and would come in the house exhausted and worn out. He would eat (well actually it could probably be classified more like inhaling) shower, do a bunch of tapping on his phone and then go to bed at an extremely early hour for a Teenager. So his reading came to an abrupt halt as well.
Now here I am, August 1st and we only made it to 450 minutes worth of reading for the Kiddies, 5 books for the Teenager and 2 books for myself. My baby boy earned his dinosaur figurine, the Girlies got them too not that they were all that excited about them…LOL. The Teenager earned his messenger bag, even though his face when he saw the extra large library logo was rather amusing and I actually get 2 books read myself (which earned me absolutely nothing..but I was ok with that…not really but I’m trying to be a Big Grown-Up Girlie).
I mean I honestly think if I don’t mention the Summer Reading Program anymore the Kiddies may not realize they didn’t complete it but in my Momma mind I feel like I failed them and myself in someway. Yes, I know life gets in the way at times and I honestly feel they had a very well rounded summer and activities that fulfilled them in many other ways physically and even still educationally. Still….that part of me that doesn’t like having any goal left unfinished it a bit disappointed.
Have you ever set a goal for you and your Kiddies and simply because of everyday life failed to complete it? How did you handle it? Did you address it with your Kiddies or just let it go?
I do know that storytime will be restored in the house. I truly believe in reading and it’s importance in establishing verbal communication skills as well as a great source of imagination and creativity for children.
Do you have an established storytime with your Kiddies? Is it at bedtime or sometime during the day? Do you read according to a school list or let you Kiddies pick by preference?