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How Seton's Summer Reading Club Motivated Young Readers - Seton Staff

How Seton’s Summer Reading Club Motivated Young Readers


With 500 participants, Seton’s Summer Reading Club was successful but we would like to make it even better next year. Would you help by adding your ideas?

Everyone knows how much of an emphasis we place on reading here at Seton Home Study School.

We believe in the lasting value of reading skills and loving books.

Each year, we make a point of reminding families not to let this essential part of their education slip by the wayside during all of summer’s fun and games.

However, this year, we wanted to provide students with a platform for continuing their reading over summer break by turning it into a collaborative and community-building activity. Enter the Seton Home Study School Summer Reading Club.

We were thrilled with your response!

500 famliies registered and based on a survey we did of the families who participated in the summer reading club, here’s a report on our first year with some projections for the future.

Did families enjoy the club?

Yes, they did. The families that reported in via the survey indicated excitement over the opportunity. Parents were pleased to have a structured summer reading program for their kids, while students were happy to be recognized for their reading accomplishments.

Paula from Ohio stated that “Our family really enjoyed the reading club. I appreciated the incentive to complete the program that the certificate provided, as well as the recommended titles from which we could select.”

Most common compliment?

The most common praise participating families offered was that the Seton Summer Reading Club was better than the local libraries’ reading clubs.

Christina from California said, “We have always participated in our local library’s summer reading program. Because we didn’t go into the library but instead chose books from the Seton lesson plans, the quality of my daughter’s summer reading material was much better.”

Abigail from Oklahoma agreed: “The reading club is a wonderful idea, particularly as an alternative to the library’s reading program, which hasn’t been very interesting or productive.” Amy from Virginia liked the focus on quality literature as well. She commented that “I particularly appreciated the list of worthwhile literature. My goal for my children is not just to read in great quantity as community libraries typically set for the goal, but also to read good literature.”

Most common suggestion?

The most common suggestion parents registered was that there wasn’t enough variety in the reading choices.

Millie from Washington wrote that her children “were excited in the beginning but were disappointed with the book list given. They found the options restricting…all alike and no books for those with special interests and hobbies.”

Another parent opined that her sons might have been more interested had the list been longer, while another mentioned that given the inadequacy of the local library, a longer, more varied list would have made it more possible to find quality books, supposing the library had one classic while lacking another.

Most encouraging comments?

The reading list reinforced family reading. Siblings enjoyed reading together or in competition, and parents made time to encourage reading aloud. One parent told us she set aside time in the afternoons so that her daughter could read books from the reading list to her.

Another mentioned that her oldest son decided to read aloud a book she had previously read to him, and when choosing other books from the list, chose some that interested his younger brother so that both could enjoy them as one read and the other listened.

How was the list implemented?

Almost universally parents mentioned that they allowed their children to choose from the list Seton provided and create their own summer reading list, giving the students ownership and responsibility. This also allowed for creativity on the part of the students, and gave them freedom to pursue their own interests within the bounds of the list.

Incentives were also key: for some, the certificate Seton provided was motivation enough, with special pride in being awarded the title “Reading Champion” as due recognition for hard work. For others, additional incentive was provided.

As one mother wrote, “I incentivized my sons’ reaching their goal by offering a small reward for completing three books and a larger prize for completing all six.” Another simple incentive was the joy of anticipating the arrival of a new book ordered to fill out the family library!

Besides better reading skills, what other educational goods were achieved?

One good was advancement in writing: Marie from Florida said that her “son was motivated to write book summaries, which is an area in which he needed improvement.” Another was contemplation of the material read; as one parent wrote, “It gave my children the opportunity to think more about the books they read.”

And more than one parent commented upon the value of the list in encouraging reading not just as an exercise for school, but as an ongoing trait of life. Marianne loved that the list “kept the reading going, which is so important.”

And Paula wrote, “I have a love of classic literature and wish to instill that in my girls, too…Seton gave us a solid list of age appropriate classic selections which I appreciated.”

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