Are your kids summer readers?

Are your kids summer readers?

I've always been a voracious reader -- except for those sleep-deprived baby years when the book would drop from my hand the minute I opened it. (My reading consisted mostly of board books and picture books during that period.)

Somehow, in the way all parents do, I expected my children to imitate my habits, plopping down with a book whenever there's a free minute.

Blog PhotoWhen they were young, I read to them every night. They'd pick out books from the small bookcase in their room that I had as a child, then back up to my waiting lap for story time. Trips to the library for new books were always a big event.

We still read together fairly regularly, and they're apt to pick up a book at bedtime. My son is a fan of - what else? - sports novels by John Feinstein and Mike Lupica, and anything from Rick Riordan. My daughter devours books from the Abby Hayes and Just Grace series, among others.

But often we run out of time because of various activities. Our library visits have dropped off as the kids got older and involved by other activities (and my work hours expanded).

And in the summer they'd just as soon go outside and hit baseballs, shoot hoops or ride their scooters, or check out something online.

University of Illinois Librarian Carol Tilley offers some advice on encouraging summer reading in this Q&A by the UI News Bureau.

Among her tips:

- Take your child to the library or bookstores regularly in the summertime (guilty as charged).

- Be a good role model by reading yourself and making reading a family activity.

- Don't discount other kinds of reading besides books, including comics, websites, newspapers and magazines.

Tilley also explores the expansive comic book genre in depth. For instance: 95 percent of American kids read comics regularly in the 1940s and 1950s -- a higher percentage than uses the Internet or plays video games today. 

Here are links to the summer reading programs at the Champaign and Urbana libraries, which offer lots of suggestions and inventives to keep kids reading!


Julie Wurth blogs about kids and family issues and covers The University of Illinois for The News-Gazette. Her column, Are We There Yet?, runs every other Tuesday. Leave a comment below, or contact her at (217) 351-5226,, or on Twitter at


Photo: Peter Ivanov Champaign reads a book during the 2004 summer Read-A-Thon for kindergarten through second grader's at the Champaign Public Libarary. The child who read the most books in 45 minutes won a bag of treats. Robin Scholz/ the News-Gazette







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rsp wrote on June 30, 2012 at 2:06 pm

That's why I wish we still had the Bookmobile. When my nephew was two I gave him a set of books that included Call of The Wild, Moby Dick, etc. People thought it was odd but he kept going back to look at the books. They weren't baby books. They were for a 10 or 12 year old. He's an adult now and about a year ago he told me that at first he didn't understand why I gave him those books but now he gets it. He loves to read. 

When my daughter was expecting some friends were trying to think of what to get her as they planned for a baby shower. At my suggestion, each one got their favorite kids book and wrote in it why they loved it. Then they also went together and bought one big gift. That child also loves to read.

Julie Wurth wrote on July 02, 2012 at 10:07 am
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My kids loved the Bookmobile! I miss it, too.

I really like your shower gift idea - we did that for my son's teacher when she had a baby a few years ago. We made sure we had enough books for every student in the class to give her a book inscribed with their name. I think she really liked it. I still have most of the books that people gave me for my first child, and I remember who gave me what!