Summer Reading: Finding Time in the Busy

A man reads a book while a woman sits across from him holding a baby.
Funcle Carlos reads a book to Izzy.

As I scrolled through social media this morning, I saw several posts from parents who were excited to share all of the books their child read this summer. 

They had fun activities they did with their kids. One, even created a bracket of the top books their child read over the summer (That’s an idea that I’m saving to my Pinterest board for future years!)

My daughter is eight months old. So, for us, participating in the Mt. Lebanon Public Library Summer Reading Program was all about building a love for reading at a young age. We tackled this by reading to her any time we got the chance. 

I’m never one to back away from a challenge. And, with promises of a prize, we had to meet our goal of 20 books over the course of the summer so Izzy could receive a free book. 

In total, I’m not sure how many books we read. I stopped tracking on BeanStack after we met our goal. But what I do know is that this summer, we developed a love for reading that I hope stays with Izzy throughout her entire life. 

Izzy and her grandad are besties.

We found ways to incorporate reading into our daily activities. As I mentioned before, tackling the summer reading program became a family affair.

On Sunday afternoons when we met up with Aunt Jamie and Funcle (get it? fun-uncle) Carlos for lattes at Coffee Tree Roaster, we walked to the corner of Beverly Road and Ralston Place to visit the Little Free Library in front of Lincoln Elementary School. Each time we found exciting new books to read. On a visit to Carnegie Coffee, we found a wide array of books and read several aloud to her (Yes, we even read her Shakespeare. She wasn’t very impressed.)

When I stopped by Marshall’s, I always made sure to pick up a new book to send to Grandma and Grandad’s house for repeated reading throughout the week. My parents also made a habit of stopping at their local library twice a week to pick up books for Izzy. 

At night, we continued to read to Izzy as she dozed off in my arms. Our entire little family got involved. Izzy’s dad read to us, while she and I curled up on the rocking chair. Even our dog, Mac, listened in. 

We read her a wide variety of books, with themes ranging from Bluey (our absolute favorite!) to baby yoga (She and Aunt Jamie even did the poses), Harry Potter (dad’s favorite) and even some bilingual/Spanish books (we want her to be well versed).

One day, my mom happily texted me that Izzy chose a book to play with instead of a toy. I’m pretty sure she just wanted to eat the pages, but it was the thought that counts. 

Tom reads a book to Izzy and I, while Mac listens.

Unlike Mt. Lebanon Magazine Managing Editor Merle Jantz, we didn’t receive a special reward for our reading this summer. (Check out his experience with the adult summer reading program!) But, Izzy did earn herself a free book (which we will be stopping by to get this week. You know the drill, sick baby equals last-minute everything!) 

If your youngsters participated this summer, be sure to log their hours by Thursday, August 3. That’s when the Mt. Lebanon Public Library’s summer reading program ends for the year. 

I chatted with folks from the library on Tuesday and they still have plenty of free books for your kiddos to collect for completing the summer reading program. But hurry! You don’t want to miss out. 

Next summer, I can’t wait to make our reading experience even more interactive. So, I want to hear from you! What are the best ways to motivate your kiddos to read? And, what are the best books to read a child under the age of 2? 

UPDATE: We got our free book!

Izzy still prefers eating her books! But at least she’s learning the importance of books in one way or another.

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