Kids all around the country are already on summer break right now. My son will be finishing up second grade this week. Summer time is not only filled with fun in the sun, but lots of hidden learning in our house. As a certified reading teacher, I make sure that we get in some reading with the boys each and every day when we are home. We have a lot of books and go to the library often (hello, air conditioned location). In many of our local libraries, they have summer reading programs.
Two years ago, kids received a prize after they read five books. My soon to be third grader was all about the prizes. He would plunk down on the couch and read me 3-5 books in a sitting. They were picture books, but they had good content, nice vocabulary and allowed me to ask him higher level critical thinking questions. Yes, the teacher geek in me did not simply write down the title, we talked about them as well.
Last year, they changed the program up. It was not about the quantity of the books, but about the number of minutes read each day. Thanks to this, I tried to get my son to try some chapter books. Although NHL loves to read, chapter books with less pictures are intimidating to him. He was definitely what I classify as a reluctant chapter book reader. One of the Scholastic Book Fairs had this book that I bought for my son:
Yes, my Phineas and Ferb crazed son certainly could not resist this book – right? WRONG! The book has been on the shelf collecting dust for about a year now. From time to time, I pull it out and ask him to read it, but he does not want to. The book has also been to Disney World for possible airplane reading, but alas it stayed in his bag.
I am not sure how I had never seen them, but we are now hooked. I started to read Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark to our entire family. We would read during dinner, before bed or random other times. Of course, the chapters are long in this book and other reading also had to be done for school. This is where I admit that I had to read ahead. I could not wait for my family. I am now finishing up the second of the books and already have book three waiting.
Some people may ask why I read to my boys, especially my son going into third grade. The reality is that read aloud time, even after kids are bigger, is still beneficial. Not only does it help to show them the fun of reading longer books, but it is a nice family bonding time. Talking and sharing the experience together as you turn the pages is priceless. I know that we will never look at Malificent the same again. At the same time, listening comprehension skills are also being worked on. Children need this skill in their educational bag of tricks not only for testing, but for real world application after their academic careers are over.
The good news is that my son found a series of books that he enjoys reading and has broken free from his fear of chapter books. On a recent Tuesday Tales of mine, I wrote about this big milestone and our goal to not only read more of Kingdom Keepers together, but for him to read all 26 books in this series. A fun summer project may also be to have him write a mystery his own using Disney characters that he likes along with the ones from the book. Of course, that just gave me another fun idea that I hope to share soon!
Remember, keep reading all summer long. Allow your children to pick out some fun books. Perhaps they want to read a Phineas and Ferb Book, a Toy Story adventure or maybe Kingdom Keepers. If you need some ideas for Disney books and/or others, a great resource can be found on Disney’s website. They have books sorted by age, categories of books and featured characters.
What books will you be reading with your children or on your own this summer? So, what are you waiting for?! Go out grab a book and get some summer reading started!