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The 100 Book Summer Challenge for 1st Graders



My 1st graders are struggling to read. We are working through our phonics program, but it's been slow and steady kind of progress.

They just aren't where I think they should be. Now, I know that is a loaded statement. Because who says where they should be? This is part of why I homeschool: I want my kids to learn at their own pace. Yet, there is this balance, right? There's got to be. A balance between pushing them a little and letting them learn as they go.

I feel this pressure because my kids aren't "measuring up" with their public school friends. Making me feel like they are behind. But that is simply not the case. Just like a child learns to talk or walk or potty train or ride a bike at different times, so a child learns to read when they are ready. As a friend encouraged me, the Waldorf philosophy doesn't even begin reading instruction until 2nd or 3rd grade. So, there is definitely a range here.

I've received lots of reassurance from those I choose to share my struggle with. Reinforcing the fact that, eventually, they will just get it. And when they get it, they usually take off! That is certainly my hope. But how can I help support them getting there?

We are still working through our phonics program like I shared above. However, I knew I wanted to do something this summer to help propel them forward toward better reading. It was around this time that a friend of mine shared that her son's school encouraged them to read 100 books the summer after 1st grade. She told me how she was amazed at the progress that goal accomplished. I was hooked!

I decided to present this 100 book summer challenge to my just-finishing 1st graders. I added the incentive that they could earn $10 for completing the challenge. Now they were hooked!

We are still in the beginning stages of this challenge. But they seem to be responding well and they want to read. Which is a welcomed change.

100 books is a lot of books. Let's just make that clear. For my purposes, I'm talking about easy reader books. Because that is the level my kids are at. My job here is to keep a variety of books in front of them (I've shared resources below that are helping me accomplish this task, in addition to our local library!).

Also, I'm okay if it takes a little longer than summer. The same goal remains, even if it takes a little longer to accomplish. Nevertheless, my goal is to try to get them to read 2 books a day. Sometimes we meet that goal, other times we don't. We will eventually complete the challenge. But I do want to push them a little at the same time.

My goal is to help my kids. So, I'm going to do my best to be a cheerleader for them. I want them to want to do this. Otherwise, it will take the fun away. I will probably add other incentives throughout the challenge when we are struggling. Because I'm sure there will be some struggling through this challenge.

Overall, I want this to be a learning experience. Hopefully a fun one. 

Here are some lists I found on Pinterest to help me keep new books in front of my kids this summer:
Easy Readers Kids will WANT to Read
1st Grade Summer Reading List of Books
Summer Book List for Beginning Readers

And here is the 100 Chart that I printed for my kids to track their progress. Every time they read a book, they get to color the next square.

Happy Reading!

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