March is Reading Month!

I can see it.  It’s right there…at the end of this week…


March is one of my favorite months because it’s a very celebratory month: Charlie’s birthday, my birthday, my sister-in-law’s birthday, lent, the end of the the third quarter at school, the first day of spring…lots of great stuff.

The other great thing about March is that it is Reading Month.

Reading Month with Hudsonville

I will admit that Eddie and I eat up every reading program we can get our hands on. In the summer we visit our local library and pick up a reading challenge–along with ten books each visit.

This March, I am going to be doing book clubs with my seniors to help encourage reading.  Since the new titles have started showing up in my classroom, they have already started showing their excitement. I have to admit I am excited too! The titles I have chosen (with the help of our media center specialist) are: The Fault in Our StarsThe Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Mudbound, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and It’s Kind of a Funny Story.

I figure Eddie’s preschool will do something for Reading Month, but I also want to reinforce it at home, so I was super excited to find that Hudsonville Ice Cream is launching a reading program next month.

This past summer Hudsonville Ice Cream generously donated ice cream and other provisions for our neighborhood to have an ice cream social. They have been a long-time favorite of mine–and pretty much anyone local.

Their reading program rules and calendar can be found here. The rules are pretty simple: read every day!

Of course there are prizes involved too:

2 winners: Hudsonville Ice Cream for a YEAR!
2 winners: Hudsonville Ice Cream for your Class
5 winners: Hudsonville Ice Cream for your family
2 winners: March is Reading Month book basket

Anyone can enter, but prizes can only be redeemed in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois (where Hudsonville Ice Cream is carried), but that shouldn’t stop you from entering because READING!  And ICE CREAM!

Each week I will share what the Sluiters have been reading too…so join us!  READ!


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Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this post. I just love reading, promoting reading, and ice cream…specifically Hudsonville Ice Cream.


teaching isn’t just my job, it’s my job.

Thanks to the makers of Pine-Sol® for sponsoring my writing. A study shows a clean smelling home can help children succeed, so Pine-Sol® is supporting Reading is Fundamental (RIF) this year. Click “Like” on Pine-Sol®’s Facebook page here and they will donate books to RIF!
I don’t remember books not being in my life.

Growing up, the bottom drawer of my dresser was so full of children’s books that the bottom eventually fell out from the weight.

My  mom always had a pile of books on top of the refrigerator from the library, and a few more on the front seat of her car waiting to be swapped out for new ones.

My dad was always reading the newspaper.

We had a set of encyclopedia and a set of childcraft encyclopedia.

Words were my life from early on.  In grade school I lived for scholastic book orders.  In middle school my mom brought me piles of books home from the library.  By high school?  I had decided that I wanted to read–and talk about those books–for the rest of my life.

And so I became an English teacher.

I have worked for over a decade encouraging kids to read…to entice them into becoming life-long readers.

The school I work in is filled with students who didn’t have their own books as kids.  They come to us behind…because they don’t know what it’s like to have books in their life for fun.

Not a couple years ago, after about 90% of one of my classes failed to do a short assigned reading assignment, I polled the class with this question: “How many of you had your own books as kids and were read to all the time.”

One girl raised her hand (she did the assignment, by the way).  I died a little inside.

That same year our school started doing RIF (reading is fundamental), a program that gives students free books.

I was suddenly aware of the gift my parents had given me.

Also that year I found out I was pregnant with my son.

Immediately, I gathered my favorite childhood books and piled them in the room that would be his.

I would sit in the middle of the room and read the books out loud to my dancing fetus.

A year later, I was reading Green Eggs and Ham to a squirmy infant.

Not long after that, we traded the “paper pages” for board books because he wanted to handle them and gnaw on the book clumsily turn the pages himself.

Now, as a 20-month old, he brings me book after book to read.  He points out the letters to me and says some of them.  He points out the kitties and the dogs and the moons and the balloons.

I burst with pride when his little finger points at the pictures as I read the words…as he examines each page before we turn it.

I know this is what my parents did.  And I know it is a large part of why I became a successful student…and teacher….and writer.

It is never ever too early to start reading with your children.  Each time you choose to put down your phone, or step away from your laptop (in my case) to read with your child, you are sending a message about what is important.

Each time your child sees you pick up a book or newspaper instead of watch a reality show?  You are showing your child where your priorities are and what you see as valuable.

Your child…and education are important.  Show this to your child.  Read with him/her.

Don’t forget to click over to Pine-Sol®’s Facebook page to support our children’s success. I was selected for this Pine-Sol® sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Today my post for The Red Dress Club is over at my other blog. Please click below to go there.