Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Readers

Both my husband and my brother call me a bookworm nerd.  They mean it in the most loving way possible.  And it's true.  I fully admit and embrace my bookworm nerdiness.  I have fond childhood memories of being read to at bedtime, having (weekly) visits to the local library (and being on a first name basis with the children's librarian - Elsbeth you rock!), and reading well pretty much everywhere: in the car, on a boat, in the stairwell, outside, in the tub, on the put a book in my hand and I was a happy kid.  My kids are being raised pretty much the same way.  I read to them from the time they were in the womb and continue to today (they are 3, 6 and 8).  They too love books.  My 8 (almost 9) year old just finished grade 3 and loves books about hockey and survival.  He loves mysteries and adventure stories.  My 6 year old just finished kindergarten and loves books about dinosaurs and trucks.  He loves silly stories like Mr. Men and Robert Munsch books.  My 3 year old is not yet in school and loves books too. She loves books about cars and trains, fairies and princesses.  She recently discovered Fancy Nancy darling.
My husband and I encourage our kids to read as much as they can and ask questions about everything.  We don't answer them with a pat answer either.  If we don't know we look it up, together.  Questions like "Are there any 3 legged animals?" get answered (tripodalism doesn't occur naturally, only genetic defects or 4 legged amputees).
As a teacher, I want to encourage a love of reading in my students too.  Sometimes it feels as though I fight a losing battle.  It is pretty clear pretty fast which kids come from homes with a love of books and which only see books when the school sends them home.  Reading to and with your kids really makes a big difference.  This year I read my class several chapter books* and what really spoke to me (as it does every year) is how the kids who claimed to hate reading hung on to every word of these books.  They "hate" reading because reading has not been made a priority in their families and has become a struggle for them to do.  But they really, really love books and stories.  They just struggle to read them for themselves.  I want to encourage families this summer to get involved in books!  There is a reason that we teachers give kids books for Christmas and end of the school year gifts.  It is not so they can be dust collectors shoved under beds, it is so they can be read enjoyed.
Here are a couple of things I found on Pinterest that really show how much time spent reading books affects your child's education.

Not sure where to begin?
1) Check out your local library.  More than likely they have a summer reading program going on, complete with story times and activities for all ages.
2) Read to your kids at bedtime.  Remember the childhood classics you loved?  Share it with them.   Or find common interest books and magazines.  Reading is not just fiction, my kids loved fact books too.
3)  Have your child read to you.  Ask them questions like, "What did you think when this character...?" or "What do you think will happen next?"  and share your thoughts too.  It's like your own family book club.
It's never too late to share a love of reading with your child!

*Chapter books I read my class this year (grade 3):
-Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwell (watch it and compare with the Jim Carey movie, they are very different)
-The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Edwards
-The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
-Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
-The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
- The BFG by Roald Dahl
**Images courtesy of and


Anonymous said...

I think it is wrong of you to assume that if a child struggles with reading it is because reading has not been made a priority at home. I too am a lover of reading and have been reading to my children on a daily basis for their whole lives, including before birth and yet my son still struggles with reading. He loves books and the stories they tell, the worlds that they open up to him, but he does not enjoy reading for himself because it is so difficult for him. We have taken every teacher's advice on how to assist him, hired tutors, searched the internet for ways to help him, spent countless hours working with him and for him...and he is still struggling. Please have some compassion and understanding that all children have their strengths and their weaknesses, do not be so quick to jump to conclusions that reading is not made a priority and that is why a student struggles. Reading is part of our daily life and has been for all of his 10 years, learning is a priority in our home.

Kristen said...

I am indeed sorry that you took my post that way, that was not my intention. I would agree that not every student who struggles with reading comes from a home where it isn't a priority. I would never say that it was. I have taught some students who have a love of books but genuinely have difficulties with reading due to a processing or other reading disorder. My heart goes out to these kids and I work diligently with them and their families.
I think you would agree with me that reading to and with your children should be a priority. It is also my experience that the majority of students I have taught who do not love to read and who have struggles with reading come from homes where reading is not a priority. The summer slide is real with students who do not read in the summer dropping levels in their reading.