Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Our Own Summer Reading Program: Read and Share

There's something carefree about reading during the summer.

Even when I took summer school classes (for fun!), I always had extra time to read. In fact, many of the classes I took included reading lists that somehow seemed less daunting because the books could be read under a tree, on the beach, in a hammock.

I could tackle hefty books in the bright summer sunlight. I could breeze through light fare on the windswept beach of the Pacific Ocean of my childhood. There was nothing too huge that couldn't be faced in the summer.

One excellent source of summer reading lists was my local library. There was always a reading competition, an incentive to read more, the most, the best. Not to brag, but one year I read more books than any other kid in the library. The librarians ran out of prizes — which was even better because reading was its own reward.

But as I left school and found myself in the workaday world, I found fewer and fewer reading programs. Libraries used to offer reading recommendations, but recent budget cuts have reduced staff time and programs. Now, only children are encouraged to read, and rewarded for reading.

I am going to change that.

With Chris' Summer Reading Challenge, I encourage everyone to read as much as they can finish. Spend long summer days lounging with a book and a cold drink. I want people to be so immersed in their books they forget about lunch.

What's the reward? Give it back.

For every book read, I want readers to pledge to donate to their library or literacy program of their choice. Choose cash (a buck a book, or the cost of all books read, or even a copy of the books themselves). Find out how your library or literacy program prefers its donations. Remember: volunteer hours are an excellent way to give back, whether it's to the library or the organization of your choice.

For me, the summer solstice begins at 7:09 pm June 20. Within a week of the official start of summer, I will publish my reading list for the summer and who will benefit from my reading.

So, who's in?

In the comments below, include your reading list and your beneficiary, and how you hope to share your love of reading.

Or drop me a line and I'll share (if you let me) or respond (if it stays between us).

Let's make this a summer to remember!

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