Will you accept the Summer Reading Challenge?

It is officially day 1 of summer break! Bring on the long days at the pool, meeting up with friends at the park, roasting marshmallows & making s’mores, catching fireflies, watching fireworks, lazy days at the lake, and so much more.  Eeee!! Parents we have the POWER to make it a SUPER FUN summer!! But let’s be honest, WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY.  It is important that parents take the necessary precautions so that their children don’t fall prey to VILLIANS such as ticks, sunburns, dehydrations, and brain drain!!  

Did you know…

The statistics on summer “brain drain” are grim. According to Dr. Harris Cooper, professor of psychology at the University of Missouri- Columbia, students returning to school after a lengthy summer break will have lost one to three months’ worth of learning. Studies show that on average, teachers end up spending four to six weeks re-teaching things their students learned during the previous school year. That means that if students come back to school on August 1, they will spend all their time until September, at the earliest, reviewing. They might be reviewing until Halloween comes around.



Don’t let your child fall into the hands of the evil VILLIAN, brain drain.  Be their SUPERHERO; DEFEND them against brain drain by signing them up for the SUMMER READING CHALLENGE today!

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Books to the RESCUE!! But that’s not all! This year’s Summer Reading Program is the best one yet! It will have your little one contemplating awesome SUPERHERO POWERS, writing a note to their favorite SUPERHERO, reading aloud with a friend; allow their imaginations to soar and loss track of both time & space in a book, and so much more! Click here to learn more about the Kids Program.

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This year’s program comes with an awesome activity book filled with coloring options, crossword, word search, etc. perfect boredom buster!!

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The Library also has fun FREE activities going on throughout the summer that coincide with this year’s Summer reading program theme….click here for summer events guide.


And I almost forgot the best part, PRIZES!! Your SUPERHERO will win prizes with each challenge they complete!! Including, Chipotle coupon, finger puppet, pick from the treasure box, stickers, etc.



GRAND Prizes…once your SUPERHERO completes Challenges 1-4 they are entered in the grand prize giveaway to win one of the following….

An iPad Air or Kindle Fire HDX

A 4-pack of tickets or a membership to The Toledo Zoo or Imagination Station

A $30 gift card for Barnes & Noble, Toys R Us or the Toledo Mud Hens

*Scouts can earn a badge if they complete challenges 1-4


The best part, the SUMMER READING CHALLENGE is open to Teens & Adults too!! And yes, you could also win prizes!!

So what are you waiting for? Use your SUPERHERO POWERS and ZOOM on over to your local library & accept the CHALLENGE TODAY!!!


Raising Responsible Kids

With summer just around the corner it can only mean one thing, Summer Reading Program!  My kiddos get so excited to see what the theme for the summer reading program is and the fun prizes they can win. Not to mention all the fun adventures to be had in a book!

And this year is extra special because we have a full-fledged reader among us, in addition to my husband and I, our 1st grader can read.  This is nice because it gives mom and dad a break. She can read to her younger siblings and she also models superb quiet time with a book. It is my hope that her younger brother and sister will follow her lead and one day naptime/quiet time will be reading time. But with 3 kiddos each checking out 10+books/items from the library how is one to keep up with all those?

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Well, I think I have come up with a fool-proof (hopefully) plan, Reading Responsibly Tubs!!  

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To make a Reading Responsibly Tub you will need:

  • 2 cups of coffee (for mom, optional)
  • 1 Tub (we used Rubbermaid tubs from Meijer’s, cost $2 a piece but I am pretty sure you can find them at most stores)
  • 1 pocket from kiddo’s old pants (we have enough around our house but you could get some at a thrift shop or garage sale)
  • Glue Dots
  • Fun stuff to decorate the tub with like: Buff paint, Glitter and Glue, Foam adhesive pieces, Stickers, you name it, just not washable markers because guess what? They will wipe right off.

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How to assemble the Reading Responsibly Tub:

  • Let kiddos decorate their tubs as they please.
  • Cutout pocket and use glue dots to place pocket on tubs.


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Here comes the responsibility part….

As soon as the kiddos arrive home with their books, CDs, etc. from the library they go directly into their own tub. In addition to the items they checked out their library card (all 3 of our kiddos have their own library card, yes, even our 2-1/2 yr. old…this is a superb way to start teaching responsibility from a young age….when given the proper guidance) and receipt with the names of the items checked out and when they are due back goes into the pocket.

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Fast-forward to a week later and it is time to go back to the library. Have kiddos take out their receipts and depending on their age; have them either count how many books need to go back and how many are in their tub, or, if you have a reader they can simply check off the books that are in their tub.  If there are any items missing the child is responsible for locating them.  We have a new rule in our home, if you do not return ALL items the next week you will not be able to checkout anything in the future until that/those items are located. And if there are fines that occur they can work off their fine by going above and beyond their chores and helping around the house.

Of course, getting your kids to take care of the possessions they’ve borrowed is only one factor for raising responsible kids. It is equally crucial that they appreciate their health, which is why knowing how to choose a pediatrician is vital for all parents. After all, removing the fear factor of seeing a professional will make your life a lot easier. 

Parents should also look to teach their kids about responsibility for others. Getting a pet is probably the most fun way to do this. But the kids need to help out with feeding and cleaning.

Nevertheless a library card is a magnificent way to teach children how to be responsible!

Here are some additional sites I came across that have great suggestions for raising responsible children.




If you have any tips or resources, stories, experience, etc. please share


Summer Reading Program and The Farmer’s Market

We originally planned on going to Maumee Bay for the day to play in the sand, swim, play on the playground, and enjoy a picnic lunch with some of our friends. As luck would have it the weather did not cooperate. Instead of being a warm June day it was rather cool, especially in the morning and by Lake Erie the temperature is usually a few degrees cooler.  So we cancelled our Maumee Bay day and just went with the flow….wherever the day took us.  And where it took us was to the Library where the kiddos signed up for the Summer Reading Program and then after lunch and quiet time we went to the Farmer’s Market.  Surprisingly, the day was delightful.  It was one of those days where all the kiddos seem to get along well, no arguing, no meltdowns, no toddler tantrums or mommy tantrums, just a perfect day.  Thought I would share some pictures from our perfect day…I will treasure today!

Here we are signing up for the Summer Reading program, each kiddo then carefully selected  6 books to checkout in order to get them started on their summer reading. ( I also added a few books on CD and tape….our preschooler feels more independent that way).


Then, after a light lunch and quiet time, quiet time that actually turned into nap time for all 3.  Yes, that’s right, all 3 of my kiddos napped.  And that is not all; I actually had to wake them up to go to the Farmer’s Market.  Told you, the perfect day! Once up they counted out their change from their piggy banks in hopes of scoring cool stuff from the Farmer’s Market.  Then we headed to the Market…..

First Stop, Kettle Corn…everyone got samples and we stopped to watch it being made, our son’s favorite.

Then we stopped to smell the candles and our daughter decided to spend her loot on the delicious, colorful, princess candles…her words, not mine.

We grabbed some fresh pizza bread for dinner and strawberries for dessert.

All that shopping had them parched….Raspberry lemonade please……

My little photographer forgot to include my head, lol!……….

Then we headed home for dinner…..

Have you ever had one of those days where your plans went awry?  How did your day play out? Or, maybe you have experienced one of those perfect days?

Combat Summer Brain Drain with DreamBox (Also a great initiative for Homeschoolers)

Okay moms, I know it is difficult to believe but the school year is almost over. I know I for one am so excited to get my little soon-to-be first grader home for the summer.  I can’t wait to enjoy the long lazy days of summer with all 3 of my kiddos. But I am also very concerned. Our 6-year-old has learned so much this year, making leaps and bounds in both reading and computation skills. I am afraid that a nearly 3 month vacation from academic rhythm of instruction might have her sliding backwards come the start of school in the fall.  Reading the following article confirmed and compiled my concerns.



A research synthesis conducted by Cooper et al. (1996) integrated 39 studies examining the effects of summer vacation on standardized achievement test scores. The 39 studies included 13 that could be included in a meta-analysis (a statistical integration) of the results. The meta-analysis indicated that summer learning loss equaled at least one month of instruction as measured by grade level equivalents on standardized test scores-on average, children’s tests scores were at least one month lower when they returned to school in fall than scores were when students left in spring.

The meta-analysis also found differences in the effect of summer vacation on different skill areas. Summer loss was more pronounced for math facts and spelling than for other tested skill areas. The explanation of this result was based on the observation that both math computation and spelling skills involve the acquisition of factual and procedural knowledge, whereas other skill areas, especially math concepts, problem solving, and reading comprehension, are conceptually based. Findings in cognitive psychology suggest that without practice, facts and procedural skills are most susceptible to forgetting (e.g., Cooper & Sweller, 1987). Summer loss was more pronounced for math overall than for reading overall. The authors speculated that children’s home environments might provide more opportunities to practice reading skills than to practice mathematics. Parents may be more attuned to the importance of reading, so they pay attention to keeping their children reading over summer.


My plan for combating Summer Brain Drain is to first enroll all 3 of our kiddos in the Summer Reading Program at our local library. As the article addressed, our home environment fosters reading.  The children enjoy listening to books on tape and CD, having mommy or daddy read to them, and then lastly, having our little reader read to the entire family.  We then keep track of the books we read and go to the library to report what was read for that week and receive a prize. It is a wonderful way to encourage children to read.

So, that leaves Math!! What to do over the summer to encourage and continue our daughters interest in Math? The solution, DreamBox, it helps children become proficient, mathematical thinker with the right learning environment. DreamBox unique intelligent adaptive learning technology goes beyond engagement, with a rigorous math curriculum that builds conceptual understanding and fluency. What I really like is that DreamBox offers interactive math games for first graders. The clip below does a wonderful job of expressing how DreamBox makes math fun, in fact it is so much fun they have no idea that they are actually learning (shh…we’ll just keep that between us parents).

Phew, I can sleep better now knowing that I am prepared to combat the Summer Brain Drain.  How about you, are you prepared to combat the Summer Brain Drain?