Read it. Learn it. Live it.

  Make summer reading sacred (+summer book report freebie!)

Summer reading 1

One of my favorite childhood summertime memories involves lying under a willow tree and inhaling fresh air and fascinating books. Though I was present physically, my mind and heart soared through stories and it was challenging to snap back into reality. Now, one of my favorite mamahood moments involves watching my trio spread out piles of books from the library. They’re silent, but their minds race through pages – trying to keep up with imaginations and story lines.

We go through A LOT of books each week … right this second we have 76 books checked out from the library! 76! I know the messages from each book sink into my sponge-like children’s minds … but with so many books coming in our home, it’s impossible to pre-read each one. I want to make sure their books uplift and inspire … I want to make sure their summer reading leads to sacred living. That’s why I was excited to hear about Jenny Phillip’s Summer Reading Program, which focuses on a list of 228 reviewed books that she approves as “virtuous, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy.” (I’ll put a link to her program at the end of this article.)

Before hearing about that summer reading program, I felt prompted to create a “spiritual” book report format for our summer’s reading – one that could foster a sacred summer … one that focuses on learning, understanding and living the good from each book. I designed the report in a way to help readers recognize, remember and apply the lessons learned from these great books … and I want to share it with you! (Download it for free at the end of this article.)

Summer reading 3

The free “sacred summer book report” is based on three principles:
1. Knowledge (learn it)
2. Understanding (love it)
3. Intelligence (live it)

In the book, “Increase in Learning,” David A. Bednar teaches that “knowledge refers to facts, information, and abilities obtained through experience or education.” So, that’s why the first question in the book report is a general info-gathering question focused on what was learned: “What’s this book about?”

Bednar also explains that we obtain understanding through the heart –- it is the Spirit identifying true principles. That’s why the second question looks to the heart of the matter: the moral or lessons learned. “What lessons does it teach?” allows readers to identify key principles that reached their hearts – principles they learn to love. For example, one daughter just finished, “My Side of the Mountain” and said she learned courage and endurance from the main character; and my younger daughter spotted lessons on obedience and contentment in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” I cherished the dialogue that came from identifying those lessons!

Lastly, Bednar teaches that, “Intelligence is the righteous application of knowledge and understanding in action and judgment.” That’s why the final question in the book report is, “How can I apply those lessons in my life?” I was thrilled to hear the “live it” goals my daughters created based on their first summer reading books! One says she’ll make sure household chores are completed all the way before walking away, and the other says she’ll focus on the wonderful things she has before asking for more things! I love it! Personal application – or the doing and becoming – is the highest level of learning … and our ultimate goal in life.

I plan to use the book in collaboration with summer reading programs they’re already participating in; and I’ll use the reports as a tool to jump-start family discussions. I will also encourage my children to keep their reports in an easily-seen place, in order to remember their goals and earn rewards. Plus, I believe this report will work with children of all ages! For my little guy, who isn’t ready to write, I’ll have him tell me what to write down – even if it’s for a simple children’s book. For my older girls, I’ll let them tackle their reading levels and write up their own thoughts … in fact, I’m even going to use the report myself!

One of my summer goals is to learn, love and live the lessons waiting for me within the good books piled high on my night stand. I believe it will make my summer more significant and more sacred. My children are enthusiastically joining the journey too … How about you and your family? Would you like to join?

Simply enter your email address below to download the free sacred summer book report form. After you enter it, scroll back to this spot in the article and click on the “sacred summer book report” link.

Enter your email to download a free sacred  summer book report form!

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book report
Click here for more details about Jenny Phillip’s summer reading program.

If you use these sacred summer book reports, I’d love to hear how it works for you and your family!

Also, please share with me ways you plan to make your summer sacred!! I’d love to hear your ideas too!

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  • Erin
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    Thank you for this great post and your inspiring blog:)

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