I'm happy to report that the summer reading lists (see this post) have been a smashing success. Judging by the number of books read, this has been the most relaxing summer we've had in years. We're a family who loves books, but over the last year busy schedules and tougher academics with our two teenagers kind of killed our "reading for pleasure" mojo. This has been a much needed re-set, a reminder of how much we love reading and how valuable it really is.
The summer reading printable inspired us to take a spontaneous early morning trip to downtown DC to check off "read by a monument". We rarely go down there in the summer- too many people and miserable weather conditions. But we got up early, scored FREE three hour parking and staked out some benches in the shade near the Lincoln Memorial. It was lovely and relaxing, none of that niggling, "I really should sweep the floor/ weed the garden/ finish my homework." Just dedicated reading time.
A few days after that we had our first ever "Merrill Family Literacy Night". We'd made a late afternoon trip to the library, and it seemed unfair for mom to have to make dinner when we got home while everyone else dove into their books. So we stopped at Whole Foods and picked up a few things for a continental picnic. For three solid hours we lounged around on the couches and read, while munching on brie and apples, salami, crackers, olives, and gjetost. Occasionally someone would get so excited about what they were reading they'd read a passage aloud to the rest of us. Around nine pm we said a family prayer, put on our pajamas, and all retired to our beds to read some more. If I had my way, every night would be literacy night!
A peek into our library bag
Given our family culture of book love, I'm so proud of my thirteen year old daughter for choosing to share that love through a service project. She's working on building a Little Free Library that will be strategically placed on the grounds of a local charity that works with homeless families. She's put in a lot of work so far, co-ordinating with the charity and hashing out the particulars. Now she's ready to build, and as part of her project she's set up a GoFundMe account to solicit donations. (The GoFundMe page says "created by" me, her mom, but she did all the work. GSUSA just requires the actual "ask" for donations to be done by an adult.)
You can visit the page and read about her project here: http://www.gofundme.com/bl72o0
We even discovered that we have a Little Free Library in our own neighborhood! Hooray for book-loving neighbors! Isn't it adorable?