Thank you for another wonderful year in the Stone library! The adventures continue at the Chicago Public Library's 2016 ***free*** summer reading program, "Explore on the Go,"with integrated STEM activities! Registration starts on June 20th and school-aged children at all grade levels are welcome and encouraged to participate! Show Ms. Esme your finished booklet in September for a special treat.
An article in Instructor magazine by Megan Lundstrom suggests that children who don't read regularly over their summer break fall behind about three months in their reading achievement. Ouch! That kind of slide doesn't belong on any playground, friends! After exploring our summer reading picks and signing up at the public library, here are a few more handy-dandy hints for parents to ensure a slide-free summer.
Find a special place.
We give a lot of thought to what children read, but less concern about where they read. This is a very important consideration when the Siren's song of the summer sidewalk/park/beach beckons. Who wants to sit still when the sun is shining? To keep reading in the running for a summer recreation choice, help children pick and design a special spot, a clubhouse of sorts where they can retreat. How about redecorating an old refrigerator or piano box? Clear out a corner of a closet? Build a backyard tipi? Make sure the fairies leave special reading gifts in these spaces all summer long.
Literary field trips.
Summer is a time for adventure! Tie reading into your vacation plans, or build them around favorite books. Visiting New York City? How about A Cricket in Times Square? Shipping off to rural relatives? Pack Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles. And who would venture into the wild west without Laura Ingalls Wilder? Even if your summer plans keep you closer to home, you can preface a visit to the zoo with (what else?) Aliki's My Visit to the Zoo by Aliki; dinner out calls for a side dish of Big Jimmy's Kum Kau Chinese Take Out by Ted Lewin; all you need for the beach is All You Need for a Beach, by Alice Schertle...honestly, there isn't a thing you can set out to do or a place that you can go that doesn't have a book tie-in waiting in the wings. For the perfect match between destination and reading inspiration, use the "Location, Location, Location" section of How to Get Your Child to Love Reading, or visit the "Trip Around the World" link for more reading tour guides.
Hit a Home Run with Punch Cards.
If your young readers have a sporty streak, motivate them by drawing a baseball diamond on an index card, and hole-punching a base with every book that they read. How long does it take them to make it to home plate? Does a novel in a week count as a grand slam? What's their summer reading average?
PLAY BALL! by Jorge Posada and Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Raul Colon (Simon and Schuster) and
JUST LIKE JOSH GIBSON by Angela Johnson, illustrated by Beth Peck (Simon and Schuster).
Bookworms Blossom into Social Butterflies.
Let's end the bookworm stigma by making the most of social summertime fun: have a beach-blanket read-aloud , reading sleepovers, a reading by campfire, a reading-based cooking club where you choose recipes based on books (Ohhh, yum yum, did I mention Jane Yolen's A Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook for Young Readers And Eaters?). The more that children can make the positive association between reading and time spent with friends, the more likely they are going to want to do it.
A Poem a Day Keeps the Summer Slide Away.
Start with a reading of Randall Jarrell's The Bat Poet, just to get everybody looking at poems as the presents they really are. Then, tuck a poem a day into a child's lunch, or tuck it under a pillow to be discovered. A nice thing to do if you are a grandparent or relative who lives across the miles from a special young person is to mail a poem a day. There are so many rich anthologies and collections available from which to choose! Plan a candlelight end-of-summer recitation with friends and family.
Freedom of Choice.
All school year long, people have likely been telling children what to read. Buzz kill! Let them loose in the library and bookstore,and reserve judgement. I know, I know, those awful television-show knock-offs and drecky things with drooly zombies or books with girls' navels on the cover that you want to hold from the corner by two fingers...but do the best that you can. Kids have to experience it all in order to develop criteria (which they usually do very quickly once they have to spend their own money or time). You can also send students to the PlanetEsme archives and let them create wishlists of more quality fare to try to find and read over these summer months. Kids generally have great taste when great choices are offered to them.
That's really marvelous that little Jennie-Jamie-Joey is so good at karate-soccer-ballet-trumpet and has more playdates than a Kardashian, but knowing how to make choices with free time is also a skill. A little down-time allows children the chance to read and relax! If you want to schedule something regularly, make it a trip to the library or your local bookseller.
Movie on Down to the Library.
Tie in titles to match the summer's on-screen blockbusters. Obvious case in point: the upcoming summer releases of Roald Dahls' The BFG and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, based on the book by Ransom Riggs. Click here to plan an entire summer reading film festival...and you'll be using that library card as often as that Netflix membership!
Happy reading, Stone families! See you in September!