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brown paper packages: {summer reading program}

Thursday, June 2, 2011

{summer reading program}

When I was growing up, summers were for reading.  I read all year long, but in the summer I could curl up with a book for as long as I wanted to. I absolutely {love} to read, and even now, it's my biggest luxury.

Our local library only allowed 10 books to be checked out on a junior library card, and for a fast reader like me, that was just not enough.  I would read those 10 books in two days, and then beg my mom to take me again. I soaked up all my favorites, and I would read them, them read them again. The tooth fairy at our house also brought books, and by the time I was 8 or 9, I had read many of the classics---Jane Eyre, Moby Dick, David Copperfield, Little Women, Great Expectations, Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and more.

I want to pass that love of reading on to my children, and share with them my passion of summertime reading.  Our library has a wonderful summer reading program, but it's fairly short, and can be (and usually is) completed in four weeks. 

This summer I decided to create our own family summer reading program, and I'm really excited about it.  We will have a set time each day, where we'll all grab our books (myself included, yay!) and sit down to read together.   The time of day might have to rotate a little, depending on what we're doing, but I know it will be something that we look forward to every day.

Here's how it will work:

I punched out 2 inch circles in cardstock that say "I've read 20 minutes", and "I've read a book!".  I thought the easiest way to keep track of all the circles was to use one of my favorite things...tin buckets!  I already had them for each of the kids, and they're super easy to keep out for long periods of time.

When they've completed either 20 minutes (my girls--preschool age) or have read one book (my oldest will take either one, but not both), they can take a circle and place it in their bucket.  Each week I'll count the circles and award prizes for the totals. I want them to be able to earn something each week, with the prizes getting bigger as the weeks progress. I'm going to make the prize levels different for each of my kids based on age, in order to even out the playing field. Prizes will include:  candy, trips to get ice cream, renting a movie, date night with mom or dad, a "staying up late" coupon, and choosing a new book. Even my little ones (age 1) can get in on the action, and have their own bucket.  It will my goal to read to them even more every day, and making that part of our regular summertime routine.  There are so many fabulous board books out there that are perfect for those chubby little hands, and they never get tired of hearing them over and over again.

Click HERE to download "I've read 20 minutes", and HERE for "I've read a book!".


 I have so many favorites from when I was young, and they remain so to this day.  Many of them are series, which I loved, because then my enjoyment could go on a little bit longer.  Trixie Belden, The Bobbsey Twins, Cherry Ames, Nancy Drew (original series), Laura Ingalls, All-of-a-Kind Family, The Five Little Peppers and many more were all a part of my childhood--LOVE them!  I thought I would share my favorite book list, listed in two separate age categories--4-7, and 8 and up.


{Ages 4-7}

Frog and Toad books, by Arnold Lobel
Amelia Bedelia, Peggy Parish
Blueberries for Sal, Robert McCloskey
Little Bear, Maurice Sendak
Chicken Soup with Rice, Maurice Sendak
Bread and Jam for Frances (and the entire series), Frances and Lilliam Hoban
Tikki Tikki Tembo, Arlene Mosel
Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, Virginia Lee Burton
The Story About Ping, Marjorie Flack
Town Mouse, Country Mouse, Jan Brett
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, William Steig
Summer in the Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder (My First Little House series)

{Ages 8+}

Cherry Ames series, Helen Wells
Betsy & Tacy series, by Maud Hart Lovelace
All-of-a-Kind Family series, Sydney Taylor
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, Margaret Sidney
Peppermints in the Parlor, Barbara Brooks Wallace
Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates, Mary Mapes Dodge
Caddie Woodlawn, Carol Ryrie Brink
Strawberry Girl, Lois Lenski
Sarah, Plain and Tall, Patricia MacLachlan
Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder
Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery
A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Borrowers, Mary Norton
The Moffats, Eleanor Estes
The Hundred Dresses, Eleanor Estes
Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
Heidi, Johanna Spryi
Nancy Drew (original series only), Carolyn Keene
The Hardy Boys series, Franklin W. Dixon
Trixie Belden series, Julie Campbell
The Bobbsey Twins series, Laura Lee Hope
The Boxcar Children, Gertrude Chandler Warner
Pippi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren
The Dark is Rising series, Susan Cooper
Fablehaven, Brandon Mull
Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling
Percy Jackson series, Rick Riordan
Sarah, Plain and Tall, Patricia MacLachlan
Harriet the Spy, Louise Fitzhugh



Blogger Amy said...

How wonderful you are! Thank you for posting this list, it's something I think my neice would really enjoy, now I'll have to work out a few prizes... :). Great idea!

June 2, 2011 at 2:17 PM  
Blogger kelly said...

it is so important to read to your children. kids do not have good vocabulary anymore,reading improves that so much! i have always loved reading!!!

June 2, 2011 at 2:54 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

You are my HERO! A literature-loving Mom after my own heart!!! LOVE this!!!

June 2, 2011 at 3:01 PM  
Blogger Eleanor Rae said...

What a wonderful idea! We used to do the library reading programme too, but it was one book per week, so we would get through it far too quickly. I think your idea to make it last all summer is so brilliant! xxx

June 2, 2011 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger Scouting Mom said...

I love your idea and I've always been an avid reader too! We have an awesome library reading program, my Oldest is 13 and in the teen section now, and my Youngest is 6 and reading on his own this summer. He signed up today to read 100 books (him and his Mom :-) and has already read 4 books! Great ideas though!

June 2, 2011 at 4:30 PM  
Blogger Marcia (123 blog) said...

I love your idea, Kierste. You sound like me because I was exactly the same except I think we could take 8 books :)

June 2, 2011 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger Ms.M said...

You are fabulous. Thanks for sharing. I love this. I too love to read, I could do it ALL day!

Ms. M
Ms.M's Blog
A Teacher's Plan

June 2, 2011 at 4:42 PM  
Blogger Wendi said...

I love summer reading too! I recently designed a tote bag especially for library books and I've been thrilled at how many moms have made them as end-of-the-school-year gifts for their kids in preparation for lots of library visits this summer. I have awesome memories of working my way through the entire Agatha Christie shelf one summer. . .

June 2, 2011 at 5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved many of those books myself!! Especially trixie beldon.

June 2, 2011 at 5:43 PM  
Blogger emlouisa said...

What a great idea Kierste! I love it!!! We may have to copy.

June 2, 2011 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger Yvonne said...

I love this--wish I had children at home.

I need to spend more time reading.

June 2, 2011 at 9:37 PM  
Blogger Deanna said...

Love these tags!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

June 2, 2011 at 10:13 PM  
Blogger Heather @ 3 kids and lots of pigs said...

What a great idea. I actually just blogged about taking my kids to the library today to sign up for our summer reading program.

June 2, 2011 at 11:03 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

What a fun idea that I'm soooo gonna do! I have been needing some ideas on how to keep my son reading when he doesn't have to report to his teacher! Thanks for the downloads too! :)

June 2, 2011 at 11:07 PM  
Blogger Doreen said...

I fondly remember my summer biycle trips to the library. Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew - woo-woo! Reading was (and is) such a great escape. Now that I'm a grown up, I wasn't taking the time to read, so I started a book club! We now have 12 active members, and have read a great many myriad of books, some of which I would've never read on my own.

June 2, 2011 at 11:38 PM  
Blogger Thread In Her Hair said...

Your idea is wonderful!! I love your book lists. Thank you!

June 3, 2011 at 12:59 AM  
Blogger Lynn said...

I am an avid reader, as are my 3 big kids. I hope to instill that love in our 2 littlest. Great idea!
By the way..I LOVED Cherry Ames books when I was in 3rd!

June 3, 2011 at 7:56 AM  
Blogger CBH said...

Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 3 post on Jun. 03, 2011. Thanks again.

June 3, 2011 at 9:36 AM  
Blogger kerrykatiecakeskeb43 said...

What wonderful lists! I remember so many of them from my youth as well: Trixie Belden, etc. When I go skating outside I always tell my dh I feel like Hans Brinker and he just looks at me with a blank stare. It is nice someone else appreciates these classics! I've started keeping track of what I'm reading this year on my blog if you run out of material! lol As an added bonus, as I finish each book that is not a library book this summer, I'm donating it to the local library so others can enjoy it. Summer is indeed reading time! lol

June 3, 2011 at 1:22 PM  
Blogger Kara @ Nest Candy said...

I absolutely love this idea! I have been posting recently about summer reading, so I featured you for my Favorite Friday post. You can read the post at:

I linked back to you several times and credited you the picture. Thanks again for the great post!

June 3, 2011 at 7:17 PM  
Blogger Jedda said...

J is just finishing The Magic Treehouse series. He's really enjoyed them. They weren't around when we were kids. I'm not sure what age they would be-Probably the first list. Each book is 60-75 pages and has illustrations too. I'm grateful for these little books because they pushed him into "longer" books. He told me he read The Magic Finger today too. And now to Beaverly Cleary's Runaway Ralph. I'm so excited for summer reading!

June 3, 2011 at 9:12 PM  
Blogger Shalet said...

Love this Idea. Thanks. Thanks. Do you have a list of quick fun reads for us mothers with little time on our hands and a real love for reading? Just really want a handful for good books for myself this summer! Thanks again for the idea! Love it!

June 4, 2011 at 1:17 PM  
Blogger Katie @ On the Banks of Squaw Creek said...

I love that you are encouraging your kiddos to read so much! This is a twice-daily activity at our house, and as a teacher and book lover, I think it's SO important!

June 4, 2011 at 10:47 PM  
Blogger Shalet said...

What fonts did you use?


June 5, 2011 at 9:36 PM  
Blogger kierste @ brown paper packages said...


I do have some great book ideas for moms--I'll post those soon.

The fonts are century gothic and rebekah's birthday.


June 6, 2011 at 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Omigosh! What an awesome idea! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing!

June 7, 2011 at 3:11 PM  
Blogger Christy said...

You have some of the most amazing ideas... I want to do them all. BTW, I mentioned you on my blog ( and gave you an "award"... check it out.

June 9, 2011 at 10:44 PM  
Blogger Cayenne Paper said...

These are adorable and so functional! I don't know how you have the time to do it all! I only have 1 set of twins and would love to be as crafty as you are. You have such great, practical ideas that I love!

Katie at

June 11, 2011 at 11:56 PM  
Blogger CBH said...

Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 3 post on Jun. 22, 2011. Thanks again.

June 22, 2011 at 1:06 PM  
Blogger Onica said...

I too got books from the Tooth Fairy! I love this idea but I think I will revamp it so it's a chart of some sort. My kids are VERY visual. Ok, so I'm visual. LOL.

June 30, 2011 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger ~The Bargain Babe said...

Oh I love this and I would have loved it when I was a kid too!

I like Amelia Bedilia and many other books on your list. :) Have you read Doreen Cronin's books? "Click Clack Moo" etc? They are so cute for kids! And was it her who also wrote Diary of a Worm? I like that one as well. :)

June 30, 2011 at 7:18 PM  
Blogger denise said...

We live in Beijing and we have gotten together about 10 families who speak English and we have a summer reading club. The club gives prizes for every 8 hours of reading. Then if EVERYONE in the club reads 24 hours we are going to have a joint family fun event. (Probably a picnic or pool day). One Mom got a bunch of prizes off the internet here and the kids are so excited. We meet together once every two weeks to award prizes and give the kids a chance to talk about the books they are reading. This week they are to dress up as their favorite book character. Because English books are sometimes hard to get here, we also swap books. It is a great postive peer pressure way to get my son to read. Everyone is having a great time

July 9, 2011 at 5:51 AM  
Blogger The Calm of His Presence said...

I found your site via Ann Voskamp"s blog. I love your reading plan. I know its a little late but, I am going to begin it the first of next week. My son loves to read & I want to help encourage reading for my 4 year old daughter. Thanks for the suggestions!


July 9, 2011 at 8:14 AM  
Blogger SerenityNow! said...

for the blossoming reader, another excellent series is Tomie di Paola's one based on his childhood....26 Fairmount Ave., etc etc.

A very fun summer read-aloud is Little Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear (but you have to do the voices!)

July 9, 2011 at 8:25 AM  
Blogger First Grade and Fancy Free said...

Oh my goodness, I LOVE THIS! As a first grade teacher I adore moms like you (makes my job easier)! I saw the tokens on pinterest and I am gonna figure out a wau to use them in my classroom. Also, I love the booklists! My own kiddos are getting bigger and we are always searching for new reading. THANKS!

September 4, 2011 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger Valerie said...

Thanks for the excellent idea. Can you tell me how you made yours? That is, looks like you added some scruff marks to your little circles. They also look kind of thick. Did you paste them onto cardstock? Please help with your wonderful style tips!!

September 27, 2011 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger - jeana said...

i am a children's librarian, and this is such a cute idea! we are "bucket fillers" at our school =) we look for ways to fill each others buckets, and i need a bucket to have in the library so they can drop their "i've read a book" circles in them. once a month i'll draw several names out and award prizes for filling our library bucket! i'm SO excited! so... where'd you get your cute buckets?? =)

October 5, 2011 at 7:45 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Wonderful, wonderful idea!! I only have one little one who just turned one, but I can't wait to do something like this when he is older. Thanks for the inspiration...pinning!

February 24, 2012 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Is there a newer way to dowload the tokens? I LOOOVE this idea (found you on Pinterest), but Scribd is wanting me to pay to download them. Thanks so much for the idea and sharing the downloads!

April 5, 2012 at 12:10 AM  

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