Kids’ Summer Reading Challenge

Here we are on the first Monday of summer vacation. We’re all still in bed. The 8-year-old is still asleep (that child will be a caffeine addict before puberty hits if we’re not careful). The 11-year-old is staring at his phone, watching inane You Tube videos and insisting that I watch every other clip. And while I’m sure that the dog smiling at its owner and the baby bear trying to climb a fence and the dog surfboarding on his owner’s back are all completely fascinating…I’m not paying attention. I snap at him irritably because I’m only 50 pages away from the end of my book and I cannot be disturbed.

And what grand plans do we have for our day, you ask? More of this, to be sure. I’ve only had one cup of coffee and I need much, much more. After a few boring errands, number one on my priority list is to get these children to the library. You see, I have a little surprise in store for them: a summer reading challenge. I’ve put together a list of topics for them – 10 in all – that we will spend the next 10 weeks working through. I think a book a week is a good goal for a tween. Younger kids will go through more books, and that’s great. But

I think a book a week is a good goal for a tween. Younger kids will go through more books, and that’s great. Each week we will go to the library, printed challenge in hand, to find a book that fits a particular challenge item on our list. And then we’ll spend the rest of the week reading 30-90 minutes a day to get through it. It’s a lofty goal, but I think we can swing it. And – bonus – if they’re reading 90 minutes a day, so can I! Winning!

So here’s my take on the Tween Reading Challenge. I’ll modify it slightly for my younger son, and I’m also working on a challenge for myself as well.

Sign up for my email list and I’ll send you a copy of the challenge! Please share your ideas for challenge categories and for books to fit the categories too!


Reading with Tweens – Projekt 1065

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I am a sucker for the Scholastic book fair. I get a little jolt of excitement when I get that email from the PTA telling me the book fair is coming. I sign up for multiple volunteering shifts. I peruse the shelves with my kids nearly every day of the fair. When they ask for thirteen books each and a handful of total crap – pens, erasers, notepads, posters, I cannot help myself. I buy nearly all of it. Because it’s tax free and a portion of the sales goes back to the school! And because I’m a total book junkie. So when Landon handed me a stack of books, a Lamborghini poster and an assortment of junk that would be lost or broken in the next 10 minutes, I didn’t bat an eye. Enter Projekt 1065 and our first installment of Reading with Tweens!

Projekt 1065 by Alan Gratz is a fast-pacprojekt 1065 reading with tweensed thriller set in World War II Berlin. Michael O’Shaughnessy
is the thirteen year old son of the Irish Ambassador to Germany and his wife, who are spies for the Allies. As he grows they draw Michael into their world, permitting him to join Hitler Youth and assigning him tasks that nobody would suspect a mere boy to carry out. The stakes are raised immeasurably when Michael rescues a downed British pilot – a Jew – and the trio hides him in the embassy. Together, the family and their hidden cargo work to discover the plans for Projekt 1065.

As I mentioned earlier this week, Landon loves WWII fiction. My mom commented (hi, Mom!) that perhaps Landon’s love for the genre is being guided by a certain someone, my grandfather and her dad, who was a military history buff to the extreme. His heroes were WWII generals and that devotion led him to his career in the military. I’d like to think there’s a touch of my grandpa’s love of history in Landon. Another aspect to his interest is likely his Jewish heritage. It’s strangely compelling for a kid (heck, for adults too) to imagine what he would do in the face of such adversity. Read more

Reading with Tweens

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I come from a family of readers. My grandparents, mom, aunts, uncles, and cousins all are voracious readers. Naturally when I had kids of my own, one of my deepest wishes for them is that they would inherit that same passion. We started reading to them at bedtime as babies, and bedtime reading has continued as they’ve grown. But now that they are 11 and 8 years old, the bedtime ritual has shifted so that the kids often are silently reading to themselves. We don’t have the same intimate cuddled up time that we used to when they relied on us to tell the stories.

It occurred to me one night when Landon, the eldest, suggested that I read the book he had just finished, that I could still capture special time with my kids by reading the books they are reading on my own time and then talking about the book with them afterwards. And the idea for the “Reading with Tweens” book club on 5280Mommy was born. Read more

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