PRINTABLE | A Quick & Easy Summer Reading Challenge

Our summer vacation is coming to a close – two more weeks until my kiddos go back to school. I was looking over the summer reading bingo sheets today and thinking about what’s working and what isn’t working.

I love a lot of things about this set up – my kids didn’t seem to get much use out of the coupons that you can win at our library’s summer reading program and keeping track of reading minutes or titles all summer sounded a lot like homework. Thus my bingo sheets were born.

Fast forward two years though and I feel like the bingo sheets are met with enthusiasm for the first week or so and then mostly forgotten. Every so often I’d go over the sheet, asking them questions like “Did you read any books about animals?” or “Did you start reading a new series this summer?” and even though the answer might have been yes, they were often unsure having forgotten exact titles.

My kids have been reading a ton this summer – quantity has not been an issue. If anything, our system just seems to be unnecessarily complicated. And we’ve been busy enough to not have time for unnecessarily complicated systems. So I decided to make a pared down reading challenge that highlights our favorite aspects of the current system.

Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy does an annual reading challenge that I love and this year’s challenge included a handy bookmark to keep tucked in your current read. I loved this idea and decided to incorporate it into a new reading challenge for next year.

I know a lot of you still have several weeks of summer left and thought I’d share this here in case you want to motivate your kids to squeeze in some extra reading time before school starts.

BEHOLD: The Summer Reading Challenge For People With No Time For Summer Reading Challenges

2018 summer reading

Print it as a bookmark or open up your favorite photo editing site and make your own – I use picmonkey.com to make all my graphics and highly recommend it. It’s all online and has tons of graphics and fonts and flexibility. / Plug

Our Summer Reading List

One of my personal goals for the summer is to read some great books out loud to the kids. We’ve got a lot of great possible read-alouds lying around – here are some of the books I’m planning to read to the kids some classics that I read and loved as a kid and a few new to me stories as well – also, The Hobbit which Dan has been reading the kids on and off for a couple months now.

kidssummerlist

Pippi Longstocking | May B | Little House in the Big Woods

The HobbitOtherwise Known As Sheila the Great | Johnny Tremain

The True Confessions of Charlotte DoyleIsland of the Blue Dolphins | Sophie Mouse

after thought: I’ll probably read Emily at least one Betsy Tacy book also.

– edit – I’m not sure if I’ll read May B to the kids or not. I’ve started reading it to myself and although I’m enjoying it and think it would sound good out loud, I’m unsure about the material being appropriate – will have to see how certain events play out and then decide. Anyone else read this to their kids? Thoughts?

jensummerlist

And six books I’m hoping to tackle this summer:

Nobody’s Cuter Than You | I Regret Nothing | Paper Towns

Shine Shine Shine | Big Little Lies | The Heir

My list is shorter because my books are longer and I know myself – I probably won’t even finish all of these, but they are the ones I’m most excited to read.

What’s on your summer reading list?

Summer Reading Challenge: The End

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My son just got onto the school bus for his first day as a second grader – so the summer vacation is officially over here and of course the summer reading challenge ended September 1st. I know I’m a day late posting the wrap up post but Labor Day was a full and busy one and I decided nobody would be too upset about the delay. You forgive me, right?

So my goal for the summer was to read 9 books, preferably ones I already owned.

Unfortunately, I didn’t quite make my goal, reading only 7 1/2 books:

  1. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (June Book Club) – Finished June 12, 2013 – This is going to be one of those books that stays with me for a long time. The overall concept of this story is both fantastical and disturbingly plausible – the way any good dystopian kind of story should be. I think the author did a great job of fleshing out her story, providing a main character that was both realistic and likeable with plenty of side stories that had less to do with the world potentially ending and more to do with coming of age. This was a book that really sucked me in while I was reading it – I really liked it. – Full Review
  2. The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart – Finished July 5, 2013 – It was really fun to read a little of the back story on Nicholas Benedict from the Mysterious Benedict books – he was a pretty amazing kid! The story itself stands on it’s own so if you haven’t read the other books in this series, you can feel free to read this one first. I found the book to be well written and funny with plenty of mysteries to solve.
  3. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (July Book Club) – Finished July 21, 2013 – I’m kind of grateful that I didn’t previously know very much about Hemingway’s life, much less his wife Hadley’s, because there was never any moment in this book where I definitely knew what would happen next. Beautifully written, this book was a favorite of mine. I really sympathized with Hadley and found the book to be a fascinating look at marriage, literary history and life in the 1920′s. – Full Review
  4. The Selection by Kiera Cass – Finished July 24, 2013 – This book just sucked me in and refused to let go from the first page. Though the writing is fairly simple (YA book), the story is fascinating and the characters are even better. I downloaded the following book, Elite and her novella, The Prince before even finishing this one. – Full Review
  5. The Prince a novella by Kiera Cass – Finished July 25, 2013 – It was really interesting to get a chance to get to know Prince Maxon a little better and see the Selection through his eyes. There were a few funny moments when you see his reaction to something that you remember America going through – and it’s a nice quick read – it took me an hour to finish the story.
  6. The Elite by Kiera Cass – Finished July 27, 2013 – Good lord, I could not put this book down. I am really enjoying this series and anxious for book three.
  7. Moranthology by Caitlin Moran – Finished August 20, 2013 – I think I enjoyed this book even better than her last. With a variety of topics, this book is hilarious and insightful, but mostly hilarious. Interviews with famous musicians, reviews of Downton Abbey and Sherlock and stories about her marriage and childhood and everything in between. If you like Caitlin Moran, you will LOVE this book. If you don’t know who Caitlin Moran is, but you like Tina Fey or Jen Lancaster or The Bloggess – you will LOVE this book. – Full Review

I am halfway through reading Secret Lives of First Ladies by Cormac O’Brien, a non-fiction book that gives you the low down on all of the first ladies and also a few quick paragraphs about the rest of the president’s wives who weren’t first ladies for one reason or another but mostly death. I’m really enjoying it but my reading time seemed to evaporate in mid-August and I’ve been having a hard time getting in a lot of time with my books at night.

So even though I didn’t finish my challenge, I did read some great books and feel accomplished and pleased with what I did read. As far as how many of these books I already owned BEFORE the challenge started: 5. Not… awful. It’s more than half.

How about a bit of superlative fun?

Let’s pretend our summer reads are classmates in a yearbook. Tell me your favorite book, least favorite, most educational, cutest couple, etc. Whatever you feel applies!

Cutest Couple: America and Prince Maxon from The Selection series by Kiera Cass. Followed closely by America and Aspen from the same series…

Sketchiest Husband: Ernest Hemingway for the win! I think I thanked my husband every night for not being Ernest Hemingway while reading The Paris Wife by Paula McClain.

Biggest Gossip: Cormac O’Brien – his book, Secret Lives of First Ladies is kind of one big omgdidyouhear??? giving you the skinny on ALL of the first ladies that your high school history teachers never told you.

The Class Clown: Caitlin Moran of Moranthology by Caitlin Moran fame. Need a laugh? Caitlin’s writing will keep you up at night cackling and jabbing your significant other in his sleep to read him hilarious passages whether he likes it or not.

Book Most Likely to be thrown across the room: That would be the one I didn’t finish – The Alienist by Caleb Carr just wasn’t doing it for me at all and brought back memories of reading Nathaniel Hawthorne in high school except much more gruesome.

Most Likely to Succeed: Nicholas Benedict. Whether you’ve read previous books already or not, after reading The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart you KNOW that Nicholas is going places!

Alright guys, if you participated in the challenge and would like to share your results and / or superlatives, you can submit your links in the Mr. Linky below or leave me a comment!

I hope you all had a great summer!

Summer Reading: August Check-in

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Can you believe it’s August already? With only one month left in the summer reading challenge, now it is crunch time to finish our reading goals! Have you been making good progress with your reading or do you find yourself falling behind as the summer kicks into high gear?

Last month I read 5 books:

  1. The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart – Finished July 5, 2013 – It was really fun to read a little of the back story on Nicholas Benedict from the Mysterious Benedict books – he was a pretty amazing kid! The story itself stands on it’s own so if you haven’t read the other books in this series, you can feel free to read this one first. I found the book to be well written and funny with plenty of mysteries to solve.
  2. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (July Book Club) – Finished July 21, 2013 – I’m kind of grateful that I didn’t previously know very much about Hemingway’s life, much less his wife Hadley’s, because there was never any moment in this book where I definitely knew what would happen next. Beautifully written, this book was a favorite of mine. I really sympathized with Hadley and found the book to be a fascinating look at marriage, literary history and life in the 1920′s. – Full Review
  3. The Selection by Kiera Cass – Finished July 24, 2013 – This book just sucked me in and refused to let go from the first page. Though the writing is fairly simple (YA book), the story is fascinating and the characters are even better. I downloaded the following book, Elite and her novella, The Prince before even finishing this one. – Full Review
  4. The Prince a novella by Kiera Cass – Finished July 25, 2013 – It was really interesting to get a chance to get to know Prince Maxon a little better and see the Selection through his eyes. There were a few funny moments when you see his reaction to something that you remember America going through – and it’s a nice quick read – it took me an hour to finish the story.
  5. The Elite by Kiera Cass – Finished July 27, 2013 – Good lord, I could not put this book down. I am really enjoying this series and anxious for book three.

5 books in a month is pretty awesome for me and will definitely help me to finish my challenge. I deviated slightly off path after reading The Selection by Kiera Cass, I found myself compelled to read The Prince and The Elite immediately.

Next I decided to read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of the next books on my challenge list – but to be honest, I really wasn’t in the mood to read a classic. Deviating off of my list for a bit longer, I decided to read Moranthology by Caitlin Moran. I wanted a light, funny book before I dive into my August book club selection, The Alienist by Caleb Carr. I decided that Moranthology fits into my challenge because it is a kindle book which was part of my goal for the summer.

I only need to read three more books to finish my goal, number-wise, so after Moranthology and The Alienist that only leaves one book which means I’m in pretty good shape to finish my personal challenge.

The remaining summer reading books from my challenge are:

Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster

Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

Daddylonglegs by Jean Webster

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

How is your summer reading going?

Do you think you will finish your goal?

Have you been sticking strictly to your book list or switching things up?

Summer Reading: July Check-in

summer reading button

It is officially the first day of July, so I thought I’d check in with my Summer Reading Challenge. I’ll be sharing how much progress I’ve made with my challenge and then asking some Summer Reading Questions. Feel free to play along on your own blog.

In June I read:

age of miraclesThe Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (June Book Club) – Finished June 12, 2013 – This is going to be one of those books that stays with me for a long time. The overall concept of this story is both fantastical and disturbingly plausible – the way any good dystopian kind of story should be. I think the author did a great job of fleshing out her story, providing a main character that was both realistic and likeable with plenty of side stories that had less to do with the world potentially ending and more to do with coming of age. This was a book that really sucked me in while I was reading it – I really liked it.

Click to read my Full Review

I am halfway through The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart. Despite being written for kids, this book is massive – like Harry Potter #7 big so it’s been taking me awhile to finish, plus I keep staying up late with hubby watching Bruce Willis movies and learning to crochet. Priorities, you know?

Plans for July:

  • This month my book club is reading The Paris Wife by Paula McLain – I have been itching to read this book for ages so I’m pretty excited about it.
  • I’ve been wanting to read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald since seeing the film version a couple months ago. Hoping to get to that this month.
  • I’m also dying to read The Selection by Kiera Cass
  • In my nightstand post, I also considered trying to get to Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster this month, but the odds of me reading four books this month after reading just 1 1/2 books last month… they don’t really seem to be in my favor. Three would be excellent – still, if miracles happen, that would probably be my next choice.

For fun, let’s do some Summer Reading Questions:

1. What kind of books do you like reading in the summer? Sultry romances, fluffy beach reads, big nonfiction books, classics, best sellers?

I’m not sure I really have a specific type for the summer as I like to keep a good mix of genres in my reading, but I probably gravitate more towards lighter books during the summer, especially if I’m lucky enough to be reading on vacation somewhere – I’m not sure I’d be able to focus enough on a meatier book between frolicking on the beach and watching fireworks while eating sea food at a little place on the water…

2. Where would be your ideal summer reading spot?

On a river cruise in Europe? Or sitting in a comfy chair on the screened in porch that we don’t have while the kids play in the fenced in backyard that we don’t have and I have a glass of lemonade next to me (don’t have that either – boo) and the kids are perfectly well behaved and don’t make me get up once. This is supposed to be a fantasy, right?

3. Where do you actually do most of your reading in the summer?

Same place I read most of the year – in bed for 30 minutes to an hour or so before falling asleep. Hence why it takes me so long to finish books!

4. Do you tend to read more or less in the summer months compared to the rest of the year?

I think as a kid, I’d have been reading more because I wouldn’t have school to focus on but now that MY kids don’t have school, I am definitely reading less. I’m much more tired at the end of a summer day it seems or I stay up later with hubby because, “Hey! No school tomorrow!” and then end up reading less.

5. What book would you most like to read this month, whether it’s on your Reading List or not?

That’s a tough one. On my list – probably The Selection by Kiera Cass based off cover appeal alone. From books not on my list are mostly books that haven’t come out yet.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth doesn’t come out until October, but that doesn’t stop me from impatiently wishing I could read it already.

The Last Word by Lisa Lutz comes out next week and I know I’ll be itching to get a copy of that one ASAP – I am such a huge fan of the Spellman Files series and the last book left me kind of stomping my feet and whining a lot when it was over.

I’ve also been wanting to read more about the first ladies and also the mothers of the presidents. Especially since watching Lincoln and Hyde Park on Hudson and finding the female characters almost more interesting than the presidents. There are quite a few books out there that would fit the bill so it’s really a question of where to start and should I read more of the books I already own first. The eternal question for me, really…

You can answer these questions in the comments section or on your own blog.

Either way, I’d love to read your answers & hear how your summer reading is going!

It’s not to late to link up to my summer reading challenge!

Put together a list of books you’d like to read this summer and link up here.

Nightstand: June 2013

We are quickly approaching the end of yet another month and it’s time to check in with those fantastic ladies @ 5 Minutes for Books with a What’s On Your Nightstand? update.

If you’ve never participated before, it’s super easy – just answer some or all of the following questions:

What books have you read recently?

What are you reading right now?

What will you read next?

Basically what books are on your nightstand, either literally or figuratively.

Since we last talked nightstands, I read two books:
nightstand-june2013-3

  1. Pandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver – Finished May 29, 2013 – I put off reading this book for awhile, worried that it would be too depressing, given the way that book one ended, but I’m glad I finally picked it up. I think Oliver makes a few interesting decisions in her story telling that provide a less predictable plot and more realistic lives for her main characters. I’m interested to see what develops in the third book.
  2. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (June Book Club) – Finished June 12, 2013 – This is going to be one of those books that stays with me for a long time. The overall concept of this story is both fantastical and disturbingly plausible – the way any good dystopian kind of story should be. I think the author did a great job of fleshing out her story, providing a main character that was both realistic and likeable with plenty of side stories that had less to do with the world potentially ending and more to do with coming of age. This was a book that really sucked me in while I was reading it – I really liked it. – Full Review

Right now I’m reading The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart, which is the prequel to the incredibly popular Mysterious Benedict Society series. “Nine-year-old Nicholas Benedict has more problems than most children his age. Not only is he an orphan with an unfortunate nose, but he also has narcolepsy, a condition that gives him terrible nightmares and makes him fall asleep at the worst possible moments. Now he’s being sent to a new orphanage, where he will encounter vicious bullies, selfish adults, strange circumstances – and a mystery that could change his life forever. Luckily, he does have one thing in his favor: He’s a a genius.”   I’m only about 1/4 through the book (it is a pretty big book!) but so far enjoying it quite a bit. I think it holds up well as its own book so if you haven’t read the other books in the series, you could easily pick this one up first.

summerreading-buttonSo what’s on tap to read next? With Summer in full swing, I am holding my first annual Summer Reading Challenge. I decided to host a very informal reading challenge at my blog this summer, because why should our kids have all the fun? If you’d like to join in, you can link up your reading goals here. The challenge will run until September 1st and you can join in any time. I challenged myself to read 9 books this summer, preferably ones I already own.

The ones I’m most likely to read in the coming month are :

nightstand-june2013

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (Book Club Pick for July) – “A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.”

The Selection by Kiera Cass – “For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks. Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – “Jay Gatsby is the man who has everything. But one thing will always be out of his reach … Everybody who is anybody is seen at his glittering parties. Day and night his Long Island mansion buzzes with bright young things drinking, dancing and debating his mysterious character. For Gatsby – young, handsome, fabulously rich – always seems alone in the crowd, watching and waiting, though no one knows what for. Beneath the shimmering surface of his life he is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled. And soon this destructive obsession will force his world to unravel.

Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster – “This is the story of how a haughty former sorority girl went from having a household income of almost a quarter-million dollars to being evicted from a ghetto apartment… It’s a modern Greek tragedy, as defined by Roger Dunkle in The Classical Origins of Western Culture: a story in which “the central character, called a tragic protagonist or hero, suffers some serious misfortune which is not accidental and therefore meaningless, but is significant in that the misfortune is logically connected.” In other words? The bitch had it coming.”

Or some combination of those… Or different books entirely – you never know with me!

What are you reading right now?

Do you like to make reading goals or just fly by the seat of your literary pants?

Summer Reading Challenge: Link Up

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Does it feel like summer yet in your neck of the woods? As promised, the Summer Reading Challenge is officially beginning today! Share your summer reading lists on your blog and link up below.

Here are my reading goals for the summer:

Read 9 books, preferably books I already own. Although I reserve the right to change my mind, here are the books I’m currently planning to read:

bookclubpicks

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (June)The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (July) – The Alienist by Caleb Carr (August)

kindlepicks

Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider – The Violets of March by Sarah Jio – Daddylonglegs by Jean Webster – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart The Selection by Kiera Cass – Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster – Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

Yes, I’m aware that the math doesn’t add up, but I thought I’d give myself a little wiggle room.

Now it’s your turn!

What does your summer reading challenge look like? Link up with your posts here:

Announcing: the Summer Reading Challenge @ mommablogsalot.com

UPDATE: LINK UP HERE!

summer reading challenge @ mommablogsalot

The other day I was perusing the websites for my local libraries and thinking about signing the kids up for Summer Reading Challenges. We’ve done them in the past with MM and he always enjoys them so I think I may sign up BB, too. Then I thought, “Why don’t I get a summer reading challenge?”

I’ve come to really enjoy the seasonal reading challenges that Kat @ Callapidder Days has done in the Spring and Fall and this summer I feel like keeping the momentum going with a personal challenge to read more this summer – and to read more of the books I already own.

I’d love it if you would join me and challenge yourself this summer to read the books (or magazines or newspapers, etc) that you have been meaning to read. Nothing complicated – pick some books or pick a number or any other reading related goal that you want to tackle this summer and go for it! We can check in with each other over the course of the summer and cheer each other on as we reach our goal!

I’ll try to figure out the whole Mr. Linky thing so that you guys can link up with me easily and we can all keep track of each other. In the meantime, start thinking about your reading goals this summer and typing up a post about it if you plan to join in. Want a cute button for your posts and sidebar? Feel free to use this one:

summerreading-button

I know the summer season is a little different for everyone, depending on when your kids get out of school, so feel free to hop in on the challenge whenever you like. I’ll plan to officially start the challenge June 1st (a Saturday) and finish on September 1st. I’ll post a linky on June 1st where you can share your summer reading goals and another linky on September 2nd where you can submit posts about how your challenge went.

-update – I have been thinking about possible giveaways and prizes for the challenge and then I thought to myself, “Self, what do people who love books like to win? MORE BOOKS!” I think I can totally make this happen – more details soon!

Do you tend to read more or less in the summer months?

Are you planning to join the challenge? Let me know in the comments section below!