We do like the summer schedule of events at the library. If there's a free animal show or a robotics demo, sign us up.
But we don't do the reading logs. And I'll be perfectly honest: it's because I hate them.
We did the summer reading program one year, and it was a disaster for the following reasons:
1. Trips to the library = maximum stress.
My kids love going to the library, and ordinarily I love taking them. But when we tried to do the summer reading program, every trip was preceded by frantic running around and yelling, "Where's my reading log? How much do you think I read yesterday?" and of course when we showed up at the library, "I left my reading log in the car!"
In our van, someone is almost always crying, bleeding, or having some other minor emergency. We're also usually late for something. We don't need a summer reading program to inject additional stress into our car trips; we're doing just fine in that department on our own.
2. We can never find the reading logs. Ever.
No matter where I kept the reading logs, whether tacked on the fridge or in a locked box buried 5 feet underground, they were always missing. Always. They were lost instantly when we arrived home from signing up for the summer reading program, every time they wanted to log their reading time, and whenever it was time to go to the library.
Even if we did manage to bring them with us (yay!) they were inexplicably lost somewhere between the car and the librarian's desk.
3. Other random tragedies befall the reading logs.
In general, loose pieces of paper don't fare well in our house. Little sisters draw on things. People spill water on things. Random pieces of paper lying around get thrown in the recycling. They just do.
Would an online version of the reading log be better? Maybe. But probably not. Because...
4. My kids can't track their reading.
Oh, they're smart kids who know how to use a stopwatch, but they just don't read that way. They don't say, "Okay Self, I am going to sit down and read a book now. Let me get my timer and set it for 20 minutes!"
No, the way my kids read is like this: I send them to get the broom and dustpan for me, but they get distracted by a book sitting on top of the washing machine. Twenty minutes later when I go looking for them, I find them standing slack-jawed in front of the book, sometimes with one hand outstretched toward the broom as a token of their forgotten mission. Repeat scenario twenty times per day.
If books were black holes, my kids would be the unfortunate stars getting sucked into them. There's no planning ahead for that. Counting the number of minutes they read is like tabulating how many child-sized socks there are scattered around my house at any given time: impossible.
5. I don't want the responsibility.
And it turns out, neither do they.
That summer we learned that reading logs turn me into a crazy person. So the next year I told the kids that if they wanted to sign up, it was going to be completely their project. I would provide rides to the library, but anything having to do with a reading log was no longer my responsibility.
I believe their logs made it to the library once, and after that summer, the kids never asked about the summer reading program again. I think they realized it just wasn't worth it.
The registration period for our library's summer reading program starts on Monday, and we're not signing up. We're not even going to think about it.
My kids will read too much this summer, just like they always do, just because they love reading. In fact I'll have to remind them when it's time to put down their books to go outside and play.
Maybe there's a summer playing program we could enroll in, instead?