The climatic end to our year of reading went like this…
At #499 it was “Harold and the Purple Crayon.” Then, clinching the milestone at #500, was “The Best Seat in First Grade,” a book that was totally appropriate since a first grader herself was the one who read it.
And with that (the 2023 season… 😂), Sloan Reser had reached the coveted 500-book mark for the second straight year. Thanks to another year of dutifully reading every night, her goal was once again achieved.
Call me a “soccer dad” but when she finished the last page of her 500th book, I made a production of clapping for her. I wanted to commend her for not only committing to something for an entire year but for sticking with an activity that is so beneficial and intellectually stimulating.
Reaching 500 books in 2023 was definitely different from 2022. This most recent time, her milestone was met with a healthy diet of non-fiction books, children chapter books, and more mature-themed picture books. And the biggest change of all? Sloan read many of them herself!
But reaching 500 books in 2023 was also similar to 2022 in some ways, too. We continued to do the bulk of our reading during our infamous Book and Prayers routine. This comes right before bed when we are all relaxed and dialed in. The supply of our books was also fed similarly to 2022—bi-weekly visits to our great Spokane County Libraries. During these trips to the library we continue to check out around 25 books and still occasionally bring home a book or two that we have already read before.
Prioritizing reading for Sloan has resulted in her becoming quite proficient at the skill. She is a vivacious reader who has now made it impossible for Sid and I to secretly communicate via note or text. Does she still have a long way to go with her reading? You bet. Sometimes she will read words out of order or she will lose interest mid-book but she is definitely on the right track.
Although we have made reading a big deal for our kids, we definitely can’t take all the credit. Helping Sloan reach her goal this year was the Silverwood Read 2 Ride program (read for 10 hours and get a free theme park pass) and the Spokane County Library summer reading program. Also, Sloan’s first grade teacher, Ms. Lunsford, is a fierce advocate for reading and challenges the students to rate the books they read. Sloan loves that!
As we have entered 2024, Sloan now has her eyes set on an even bigger goal. She wants to read 600 books! Her class made New Year’s resolutions last week and when I opened her folder I saw her target written on a piece of lined paper. Will it be challenging? Well, we barely reached 500 books these past two years. But is it possible? She thinks so!
For any parent who is reading this post and aspires to a similar goal, go for it! Reading can fit right into your nightly routine and the benefits—both from an educational and family bonding perspective—are immense. Happy reading in 2024! Don’t Blink.