Last week we went to the movies and saw Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. My boys have read all the books just like millions of other boys but it was Ryan who really wanted to go see the movie. He knew the date when it was coming out and asked when we would be able to go. He didn't have to wait long because we did a family movie day on the Sunday afternoon after it came out. We have seen all of the Wimpy Kid movies and I do have to say that they are laugh out loud funny movies probably because they are so true to life from Greg's determination to spend his summer in the living room playing video games to his dad trying to get him to spend some time outside and his mom trying to get him to read. When the mom introduces her summer book club holding the book Little Women, my children's heads all turned toward me laughing out loud.
My kids know all too well that I have always been trying to get them to read more. This summer I had the rule of no electronics before noon in hopes of more reading. They did have to read everyday and I did have incentive programs in place. Now, I wasn't as bad as the mom in the movie pulling out the classics like Little Women, I just wanted my guys to read. I had a goal of 40 books. The Nealons would read 40 books as a family. I made it a group goal so that there was no competition between each other. If we read 40 books we would be rewarded and Chris and I were included in the 40 books. The only thing that they had to think about individually was that each person had to read at least 5 books. There was a minimum otherwise my kids who are already readers would have done all the reading and my dormant readers (the ones who know how to read and read on grade level but choose not to read) would have just relied on the others to get us to our 40 books.
This is what 40 books looks like. When we were finished with a book, we stacked it in our pile in the study. I wanted them to have a visual. I wanted them to see the pile grow. When one of them would finish a book and add it to the pile I would then see them count out the books and figure out how many more we had to read. When we got close to our goal we had sticky notes on the pile that said "6 more books to go, 5 more books to go..."
Then we started our family discussions as to what we were going to do as a reward. I had a couple of ideas in my head at the beginning of the summer. I was thinking the Adventure Park in Maryland but we ended up doing a similar park in the Poconos. Then I thought we could go to Hershey Park since we hadn't been there in a few years but we ended up going there when my niece Jessie came for a visit. After some more discussions, all four kids wanted to go to Great Wolf Lodge. We were there three years ago and they wanted to go back.
Lots of fun was had by all.
Our ride home, the right side of the car...
and the left side of the car.
So even though there were moans and groans at the beginning of the summer because they thought we would NEVER get to 40 books, by the end of the summer there was laughter and giggles as they splashed in the water and went down water slides.