It's been five months since we moved to NY, and I'm just now finding the time to visit our local library- it was a weekly stop for us in Cincinnati so I'm really not sure why we delayed our first visit here. We went to get a library card, a few books, some time in air-conditioning and to join the summer reading club. Our trip ended up being the perfect way to start the summer.
Joining the summer reading club was all the inspiration that my girls needed to kick the TV habit and start the summer with reading. I hate to admit, but since we moved to NY, I've eliminated all rules that controlled the amount of time the kids spent zoning out in front of the television. Our move seemed to be the perfect excuse to lighten up on the rules in so many ways. But all is good now, the girls seem to remember the days when we surrounded ourselves with books, and they immediately went back to reading endlessly or listening to me read stories. The best news is that my daughter going into second grade can now read at a pace fast enough to keep the younger kids interested.
Every year for the last three we joined the Cincinnati Public Library's summer reading club. The prizes were what I thought motivated my children. After reading a set number of books they were allowed to select a small plastic toy from a box behind the desk. After reading a higher amount, they got to select a book from the back room to take home for their shelves. If they completed the entire sheet, their names were entered into the library drawing for a free bike. Good news, one year we actually won the bike. My oldest is just now able to ride the three year old bike since it was designed for older kids and looked HUGE at the time.
Funny thing, I thought I knew my kids. When I saw that the prizes in the NY library were getting to hang your name on a wall for reading the first level I thought to myself, "this isn't going to work since we are used to REAL prizes". The librarian continued explaining that the second prize was a coloring page, the third level was stickers....and they continued to be about the same level of medicore prizes. To my amazement, that was all the girls seemed to need. It was enough to get them excited to mark off the sheet of what they read. I guess it's impossible to truly understand what motivates your kids from one day to the next.
We are proud to say, it's now day three of TV free days, they are continuing to read and I'm keeping motivated to not fall back on the television everytime a fight breaks out. Hopefully I will report back as the number increases.