The month of May is bittersweet to me. It is filled with beginnings and endings. I am sad to say goodbye to our students and know that when they return to us in the fall they will seem a foot taller! I am sad to say goodbye to friends and colleagues that I enjoy thinking, laughing and growing with daily. However, I am excited to say hello to summer. To not have a demanding schedule to follow, to have time to be outside in the warm sunshine and soak it all in, to play with my children and of course one of my favorite indulgences – reading! I love a good summer read at the beach, I love to dive into professional readings, but quite honestly I must tell you that I also enjoy reading to and with my children. Don’t get me wrong; we read all year long, but to me, summer reading is the best! During the school year we have such busy schedules and seem to be on the move that our reading time seems to be mostly done at night before they go to bed. However, today I got a little taste of summer reading with my daughter. She is five and was in need of some mommy time since I had been gone the past few days to our annual staff retreat. I was in task master mode, sorting through laundry, cleaning up messes that had been made over the few days I had been gone and trying to get ready for the week ahead when she showed up in front of me with a book in hand. In her very sweet little five year old voice she said, “Mommy, I have missed you. Will you read a book to me? I will let you choose your favorite!” Now, how can one resist that even if you are facing a mountain of laundry? She very sweetly took me by the hand to her room and started pulling out books and asking me if they were my favorites. Before I knew it, she had at least ten pulled out that were “my favorites,” and we were going to read these. We snuggled up together, and as I started to read, the landry, the messes, and the week ahead didn’t really seem that important anymore. We read book after book, and finally we got to the book The Doorbell Rang, which is about a brother and sister who have a plate of cookies and decide how to divide them each time the doorbell rings and more friends come over. At the end of the book, Ella, who is always one step ahead of me, said, “I think we should have a cookie now since we read this book!” So of course we had a cookie, and I thought to myself I couldn’t have had a lovlier morning!
I share this story with you because I hope that you will take the time to stop this summer, even when you are busy and read to your child. Sometimes it does more for us as the adult than it does for the child. If you are the parent of a young child I highly reccomend the book Reading Magic, by Mem Fox. It is a great, easy read for parents in which Fox explains the importance of reading aloud and why and how to make it a fun experience. If you have children who are reading then I encourage you to not only find time to read to them, but allow them time to read as well. Research shows that students who are allowed choice in their reading read more. Summer is the perfect opportunity to offer your child freedom in their reading choices.
What research tells us and what we know as educators is that if we say goodbye to our students in June who have been reading on a daily basis and they rarely pick up a book over the summer they return to us behind. We do not want that for our students. One way we hope to help with this “summer slide” is by incorporating the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge with our students. Each student will be given a user name and password to log into Scholastic’s Summer Reading Challenge site so that he/she can log the minutes he/she reads over the summer. By logging their minutes they are able to unlock new stories each week that can be read or listened to on a tablet, computer or mobile device. You can also see how our school is doing compared to other schools around the country at logging our minutes. This is one way we hope to encourage students to keep reading over the summer. I have listed below a few other resources as well. You will also notice a new bulletin board by the front desk that says, “What are you reading this summer?” I hope you and your child will take a few minutes to write on the board what you will be reading. Many students get ideas about great books from their peers, so add your suggestions to our board. I hope that you all have a summer filled with many adventures and memories that will last a lifetime. Happy summer and happy reading!
Summer Reading Ideas
-Go to the library and let your child get his/her own library card.
-Check out the public library’s summer reading program.
-Go on a library scavenger hunt (deatils in the link) http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2013/08/library-scavenger-hunt.html
-10 weeks of summer reading activities http://www.readingrockets.org/article/10-weeks-summer-reading-adventures-you-and-your-kids
-Summer Reading Bucket List http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2013/05/summer-reading-bucket-list.html
– Visit Barnes and Nobel and read books to get a free book http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/summer-reading/379003570