By Erin Gordon, Division Director, preschool-grade 2
For me, as a parent, a particularly magical aspect of my summers is having longer and more relaxed opportunities to be with and enjoy my children. One of my favorite ways to do this is through a heightened commitment to reading together.
Reading with my children forges connection, promotes deep and important discussion, provides entertainment, and supports my children as growing readers and people. Reading with my children also helps me engage in conversation with them about the reading they do on their own, independently. While reading with them and supporting their independent reading just plain feel good, it also actually does a lot of good. There is ample research to support the importance and power of both reading to children and giving children substantial time to engage in and enjoy books with independence.
While there is no one right way to engage children as readers at home, I encourage you to consider how summer might provide new or expanded ways for your family to engage with books. There are numerous resources that offer summer reading ideas, but here are a few that I recommend.
The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease gives a comprehensive, research-based rationale for why reading aloud to children helps them discover the pleasures of reading and sets them up to become lifelong readers.
Summer Reading Central is a comprehensive blog post on Brightly, a blog created for parents and educators who want to raise children who love to read.
Summer Reading Fun… For All, a blog post from The Nerdy Book Club Blog, provides ideas of how summer reading can (and should) be a family affair.
Top Ten Ways to Keep your Child Reading Over Summer is another post from The Nerdy Book Club Blog.
In addition to ideas for how and why to engage with your child over books this summer, it helps to have some ideas of what to read. I’ve compiled this list of fairly current books (picture books and short chapter books) that span genre, topics, and kindergarten through second grade reading abilities. Our local public libraries are also wonderful places to get book recommendations and to engage in reading together. There are a number of family book clubs, for example, running at The Free Libraries of Philadelphia this summer.
I hope you enjoy some magic this summer with your children (with and without books).