Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Summer reading, full steam ahead!

Summer's just around the bend, and starting the third week of June you can sign up for the Chicago Public Library Summer Reading Program (or, as it has been newly donned: "Rahm's Reader's 2013 Summer Reading Challenge"). This year's theme is "Full STEAM Ahead," playing on the STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and math) and adults' continual and rather inexplicable love of acronyms.  Ms. Lorfel, our lovely and ever-joyful Northtown branch librarian, will be visiting us in full mad-scientist regalia to tell us all about the exciting changes to the program, including lots of hands-on experiments, a chance to read to a dog, a Lego club and so much more! Besides being such a wonderful cheerleader for reading in our community, she has also been very kind in going above and beyond to help us with an annual library card drive to ensure that all of our Stone students have a Chicago Public Library card. Please watch for schedules and information going home, as well as applications for library cards (sorry, *only* for students who are getting their cards for the first time; not available for lost cards or cards with overdues. These issues can easily be resolved with a quick in-person visit to the Chicago Public Library, just bring proof of address). A reminder that all Stone Students are expected to have a Chicago Public Library Card! And why not? Kids can check out up to 30 resources (i.e. books!) at a time! A helpful hint: keep a special box or tote bag near a door, or make a special shelf for all your library booksto keep them separate from any other books in the home. This helps reduce pressure about losing books and keeps book borrowing fun!

Speaking of keeping books fun, please check out this provocative article about summer reading from one of my heroes, Donalyn Miller, "Let My People Read" at the blog NerdyBookClub. Then, you can use the Stone Library suggestions for summer reading or peruse my top reviews at The PlanetEsme Plan as a starting point...but far from the finish! I hope our students enjoy a summer full of choices, and discovering their own very individual identities as lifelong readers and learners!

Now, for a quick end-of-year round-up from the picture files:

You never know who's going to show up at the school library.
A hunka-hunka burning reading love!
But this is not the only royalty...
the kindergarten had fun acting out "The Grand Old Duke of York" 
as part of our discovery of Mother Goose.
After all...nursery rhymes: don't leave kindergarten without 'em!

Meanwhile, the third grade has been loving our serial read aloud, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.  If the whole class brings flashlights, we can read in dark!  (Ms. Esme has a special lamp, and we all have copies in which to follow along.) Children who are familiar with the story add new facets to our discussions, and each cliffhanging section ends with a big "awwwww!"  The biggest awww of all is that we may not finish in time for break...but the good news is the promise to pick back up again in the fall, a magical entry into the world of fairy tales and mythology.  Meanwhile, we are entranced by the wickedness of the White Queen and the contrast of the powerful lion rescuer Aslan, played out on a rainy day with paper-bag puppets.  We also enjoyed tasting real Turkish Delight, just like Edmund does in the book.  Well, most of us enjoyed it.  The rest spit it out in the garbage.  Oh, well.  It's an acquired taste. 

And, as always, big takes care of little in our loving school...thanks to middle school book buddies, who helped our primary kids sound out the hard words in some one-on-one practice reading.

Happy summer, everyone!  Keep those pages turning!

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