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Summer Reading Program

Chynna Hansen

Happy Summer! It feels so good to finally say that. There is truly nothing better than late summer nights roasting s’mores, camping in the backyard with the kiddos, picnicing at the park, and soaking in every moment of that sunkissed goodness.


It’s easy to bend the rules in the summer--late bedtimes, ice cream for dinner, and counting a dip in the pool as a bath. We trade our schedules in for fun, and rightly so. It’s a magical few months each year and we only get so many of them with our little ones.


However, if there is one habit we shouldn’t get too relaxed on, it’s reading with our children. I could get on my soapbox with a million reasons why we should consistently read to our kids, but these statistics speak for themselves.


  1. The single most significant factor influencing a child’s early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school.
  2. Having books in the home is twice as important as the father’s education level.
  3. Creating a steady stream of new, age-appropriate books has been shown to nearly triple interest in reading within months.
  4. By the age of 2, children who are read to regularly display greater language comprehension, larger vocabularies, and higher cognitive skills than their peers.
  5. The nurturing and one-on-one attention from parents during reading aloud encourages children to form a positive association with books and reading later in life.
  6. Children who are “well-read-to” (at least five times a week), when asked to tell a story, used more literary language than unread to children, and they used more sophisticated syntactic forms, longer phrases, and relative clauses. They were also better able to understand the oral and written language of others – an important foundation for the comprehension skills that will develop in the coming years.
  7. Children growing up in homes with at least twenty books get three years more schooling than children from bookless homes, independent of their parents’ education, occupation, and class.
  8. Children who are read to at least three times a week by a family member are almost twice as likely to score in the top 25% in reading compared to children who are read to less than 3 times a week.
  9. The greatest amount of brain growth occurs between birth and age five. In fact, by age 3, roughly 85% of the brain’s core structure is formed. In contrast, the majority of our investments are made in the traditional education years of K-12, which begin at age five.
  10. Researchers found that when mothers frequently spoke to their infants, their children learned almost 300 more words by age 2 than did their peers whose mothers rarely spoke to them.


I’m so excited to share the LMSS Summer Reading Program with you. I hope you’ll join me and my boys as we embark on a summer with less screen time and more face to face time with the magical characters found in the pages of our favorite books.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Download the printable reading tracker. Click here to download . This can be used with children of all ages. If your little one is big enough to fill it out themselves, allow them to do so. If not, fill it out for them and ask them to answer the questions.
  2. Read 100 books with your child(ren) this summer, putting a check mark on each line as you go. They don’t all have to be different books--we love to read our favorites over and over again!
  3. If you want, share your favorite books over on the Little Mama Shirt Shop VIP Facebook page. Click here to join. I’ll be sharing my family’s progress there, as well as on my Instagram stories.
  4. Spend lots of time talking through each book while you read, and then help your child through the questions on the printable tracker.
  5. Take a photo of your completed tracker by August 31st and email it to littlemamashirtshop@gmail.com.

At the end of the summer, I’ll send you this free library tote* for your children. (Limit one per household, you just pay shipping.) I’ll also send out a really good discount code for mom, because heaven knows reading with children isn’t always loads of magical fun. If you survive it, you deserve a new tee!

Happy Reading!

*Limit one tote per household. A shipping fee will be charged unless the tote is combined with another purchase from LMSS.

Find more reading statistics here: https://ferstreaders.org/resources/fifty-top-literacy-statistics


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  • My kids ages 4, 2, and 1 have loved reading this summer! They’ve just now (the older two) gotten more interested in books and it makes me so happy!


  • We read every night before bed and after every story Ben goes “more, more?”


  • My 1 year old loves looking at her books so now we can read more! I just hope she will sit still long enough lol. Everyone gets a tote after?

    Chasitdy Smith

  • My son is 22 months old and has been read to daily since 8 months. He’s grown to love books and that makes this momma SOO happy. I’m almost off for summer break so this will be a fun challenge! Thanks!


  • My boys (ages 3 and 1) LOVE to be read to! Can’t wait to join this challenge!


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