Looking for ways to keep your children excited about reading this summer? Here are ten ways to avoid the ‘summer reading slide’ while having lots of fun at the same time!
Simply find these books at your local library or bookstore, read them (independently or together--whichever is best for your young readers), discuss each book with your child, and then try out the follow-up activity that’s paired with each book!
1. Just a Dream by Chris Van Allsburg – (K-5) Children will enjoy this enlightening story in which young Walter learns the effects of littering on the environment.
Follow-up: Participate in a local ‘Community Clean-up Day’ or make one of your own at a local park or simply grab a trash bag and head outside to pick up any trash you
can find (be sure to wear gloves)!
2. Curious George Goes to the Zoo by H. A. Rey – (4-7 yrs.) A classic favorite for kids! Follow George on his zoo adventure and learn many animal facts along the way!
Follow-up: Visit a local zoo, a petting zoo, a wild animal park or
even a farm that advertises child-friendly visits!
3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl – (Gr. 3-7) The classic adventure in which Charlie (and your children) learn the value of being ‘honest, kind, brave and true.’ Follow-up: If you’re near a large city, tour a food production factory, or even a local bakery (cookies anyone?), if not, then make some yummy ‘chocolatey’ treats on a rainy day!
4. Surf’s Up! by Kwame Alexander (4-8 yrs.) Two frog friends debate about which is the best way to spend a day at the beach—reading or surfing? Find out who wins! Follow-up: Spend a day at the beach/lake/local pool, or improvise with a kiddie pool in your own backyard! Later, dive into reading Moby Dick to your kids and see if they like it
as much as Bro and Dude!
5. The Night at the Museum by Milan Trenc (picture book, ages 4-7) Lovely child-friendly illustrations tell the story of Larry, the museum guard, as he discovers that all the dinosaurs have left the museum! Follow-up: Go on a visit to a museum of course, and maybe even a chat with one of the guards there! What would they do if the
6. Miss Mingo and the Fire Drill by Jamie Harper (K-2) Children will learn about fire safety in a fun way from Miss Ming and her crazy animal students! Why wait until October to learn about fire safety? Follow-up: Make an appointment to visit your local firehouse—have the kids chat with the fire fighters about what they learned from the book!
7. Backyard Birds of Summer by Carol Lerner (Gr. 3-6) This is a family-friendly resource that will get your kids excited about bird-watching! It even has tips and tricks to encourage certain birds to nest in your yard! Follow-up: Visit a local Audubon Center or wild bird rehabilitation center. If these aren’t available just keep the book handy all summer and have a contest in identifying as many birds as possible!
8. Finding Dory: The Junior Novelization by R.H. Disney (Gr. 2-5) This is a ‘junior novel’ based on the upcoming Disney movie. It teaches kids about the value of family. Follow-up: Go see the movie “Finding Dory” but only AFTER reading the book--and maybe visit an aquarium this summer to identify lots of fish as well! Later read, The Little Fish that Got Away by Bernadine Cook. This is one of our favorites (can you tell by its condition)! After reading the book go fishing and see if you can catch a great, great big fish, a great
big fish, a big fish or a little fish :)
9. Henry Hikes to Fitchburg by D.B. Johnson (ages 4-8) Two friends decide on the best way to get somewhere, one on a nature walk and one on a train. Follow-up: A nature hike in which kids get to engage in some of the same activities that Henry does on his nature walk.
10. Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin & Henry Bliss (Ages 4-8) Kids will love this truly hilarious book--told from the perspective of a worm—a ‘kid worm’ at that! Once they’ve read this book, they’ll want to read all the books in this humorous series (Diary of a Fly, Diary of a Spider, etc.). Follow-up: If you’re not brave enough to have your kids look for worms (and their hiding places!) in your yard, then have your kids write their own diary series by choosing creatures that they’d like to write about, from the creature’s viewpoint of course!
What are some great summer books and adventure ideas that you’ve paired up for your family? Please share your ideas in the comments below!
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