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Reading Week

Reading week's first 30 library books.  A few went immediately into the return pile--you can probably pick them out.

Reading Week’s first 30 library books. A few went immediately into the return pile–you can probably pick them out.

“Tomorrow Reading Week starts,”  Miss 12 sighed happily Sunday night.  Reading Week, an annual tradition, is one of the joys of our homeschool.  We long for it, dream of it, plan for it, and now, finally, it is here.

With over 200 books expected from inter-branch loan in our huge city-wide library system, our house will be awash in books and we’ll drop most schoolwork for a glorious week of reading.  Even though health issues make it difficult for one of the children to read, I’m hoping we found good books for everyone.

Whenever I mention reading week, people have so many questions.  Here’s a repost from two years ago that answers them:

What’s Reading Week?  Well, one week a year we take time off from formal schoolwork and spend an entire week reading.   Yes, we still feed the chickens, go for walks, eat, and sleep.  We even manage some music practice.  But, mostly, we read.

What do we read?  Whatever we’re interested in.  This year we have all the Bill Peet picture books out again; that seems to be an annual tradition that we all love.  Miss 12 has a pile of Nate Wilson books to explore, I want to reread some gluten-free living books, Freddy the Pig has come back once again to entertain us all, and we’ve ordered all the David Macaulay DVD’s and books (Cathedral, Castle, Motel of the Mysteries, etc.) that the library has.

But why?  Is there a reason we do this?  Obviously, there’s nostalgia, like our annual Bill Peet indulgence.  And there’s is learning, like the books about Van Gogh and about writer’s groups.  There is pure enjoyment, like Peter Speier’s wordless picture books and Don Aslett’s hilarious dejunking books.  And there is excitement, as in the one Asterix collection allowed this week, as well as Beowulf and The Cricket on the Hearth.

The other reason is quite practical.  We live close to a tiny country library in a city-wide system of huge libraries.  Our library is often on the endangered list, quite literally, and as homeschoolers we depend on it.  So, years ago, we began our Reading Week to coincide with our library’s annual counting week.  I suppose it’s actually Save the Library Week.

It’s the week we order more books than usual, visit the library every day, and pull a lot of books from the shelves.  We also request a lot of books from other branches.  Usually we have 50 or so books requested; now we have just over 200.  Usually we have less than 80 books out; now we have 179.  Our reading week helps the library’s statistics, and our librarians are grateful to (and proud of) ‘their’ homeschoolers.

And the final big question:  Will we ever read them all?  No.  There are already three books in our return box, one of them full of blasphemy on the only page I checked.  We don’t need that.   But we will read most of them.  Our children are amazingly fast readers, and I’m no slouch at whizzing through a book either.   A lot of the books will be enjoyed from cover to cover.  On the other hand, I won’t read every recipe in every gluten-free cookbook.   I’ll skim through the writer’s circle books to choose the best ones for setting up a homeschool teen writer’s group, and study those in great detail.  And Freddy the Pig will be read, reread, and chuckled over.

There are, of course, a few more niggling practical matters:

Where do we store all those books?  In rows and piles in front of our bookshelves.

How do we keep track of them?  Very carefully, according to our usual system for avoiding library fees.

Doesn’t it make a mess in our house?  Yes, and after a month I’m always thrilled that most of the books are gone.

Are we invalidating the library statistics?  No.  As you can see from the numbers above, we’re taking more books out than usual, but not that many more in terms of a library’s output.  Just enough to make the librarians love us, not enough to make them hate us.

We love Reading Week.  Great books, no schoolwork, special snacks, and the opportunity to really delve into one author’s works are all wonderful treats.  We have learned, though, that we must keep a bit of a normal routine of mealtimes, chores, and outside time or everyone will become grumpy in a few days.  It’s true that reading can be over-done.

But my homeschooled kids know my weak point and love to point out, “You learn from reading, Mom!”   Implying that therefore it’s all OK, and, really, it is, because it’s as much of a break for mom as for the kids.

If you’ve never enjoyed a Reading Week, try one.  You might be starting an annual tradition.

For more inspiration, check out my posts about previous Reading Weeks.

This post is linked to Saturday Reviews, Works for Me Wednesdays, Booknificent Thursdays, Raising Homemakers, Finishing Strong and Trivium Tuesdays.

15 Comments

  1. JoAnn says:

    Sounds like a lot of fun. I hope you all enjoy your reading week. 🙂

  2. Carol says:

    Only one Asterix!! We went to the library last week & found some we hadn’t read before and also quite a few TinTin titles so I succumbed & brought them home. I’ll be taking them back again soon and I’ll be banning them for a a good length of time.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Yes, my kids love Asterix, but I don’t want them to read too many of them. And we do have many more than one Asterix this year–it was the repost from a few years ago that mentioned only one. 🙂

      I’ve discovered that my kids learn a lot about history from these books, even though they don’t know they learned anything until the topic comes up in university classes years later!

  3. There is SO much to love about this!! We shall follow your lead. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Carmen says:

    Sounds like a fun plan. My olders would’ve loved that. The younger ones that are still at home with me – not so much. Some struggle to read, so a whole week of that would be a like a prison sentence for them. They DO like Asterix though. 😛

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Yes, isn’t it funny how the younger ones have a harder time? I blame it partly on screens–they do a lot more watching than the older kids ever did, and I’m not sure I like that.

      Even so, reading is very important and I do all I can to encourage it. It paid off wonderfully for Miss 16’s SAT this fall.

  5. What a great idea! I had to check out Bill Peet at my library’s website, as I’d never heard of him. I have a few on hold now. 🙂

    1. Annie Kate says:

      They are a lot of fun, and I think you and your children will enjoy them.

  6. jenny says:

    My second oldest daughter would LOVE if I did this.

  7. Kenda says:

    I want a reading week!!

  8. Annie Kate says:

    Jenny, it could be a special reward for her! 🙂

    Yes, Heather, it is so much fun!

    Kenda, why don’t you try it then? Just take a week off and read. Or even half a week. Or even the occasional day. Sometimes we just need serious break, don’t we?

  9. Amy says:

    This sounds WONDERFUL! My kids would love it, but a scaled down version appropriate for their ages. I’ll have to think about working this in, either this year or next!

  10. Tonia says:

    I love this idea!

  11. This is a really fun idea! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday! Tina

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