The “Summer Slide” has become a familiar term to those who work in education as well as parents. What is the Summer Slide? Essentially, it’s the academic loss that children experience over the summer holidays. I’ve often been asked by parents at the library how to prevent their children from experiencing the feared “Summer Slide”
My advice is simple- “Kids who read succeed!”
But how do you incorporate reading into a daily activity in the summer without it seeming like school? I’ve had this dream of creating a book club for my son and his friends. With visions of them reading a book each week and then meeting to discuss our thoughts and feelings over a pitcher of lemonade and cookies. When I proposed this to my son, the horrified look on his face said it all. He also reminded me that Greg Heffley’s mom from Diary of a Wimpy Kid also tried to create a book club for Greg and his friends.(This is just going to prove his point that I am very much like Susan Heffley)
It would be wonderful to walk past your childs bedroom and see them curled up with a book each night. Or even see them turn off the TV and curl up on the couch. Truth is, this doesn’t always happen. Reading incentives work. Summer Reading Programs around North America are created on this premise and they are successful because of it. So, in addition to visiting a library and having your child sign up and participate in one of these fantastic programs, why not also provide a reading incentive at home. Here’s my example:
Using stickers, or stamps, have your child mark the different places he or she has read for at least 20 minutes. The only rules are that only one square can be marked each day, and the reading should be a book at their level (no board books for a 12 yearold for example) for at least 20 minutes. Once the “bingo card” is full, have your child choose a fun family activity that you can do together as the “reward”. You can create more cards to get you through the summer holidays by coming up with ideas for new places together.
I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of the BEDTIME PAJAMA PARTY BLOG TOUR promoting for Jeanne C. Blackmore’s new children’s book HOW DOES SLEEP COME? Elizabeth Sayles’ illustrations paint the coziest, most relaxing pictures that will have the little ones yawning in no time.
Before bed, Jacob asks his Mom, “How does sleep come?” His mom answers with soothing images that leave Jacob’s eyes drooping as he lifts off to dreamland.
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky has been kind enough to provide a Pajama Party Kit that will keep the party interested and provide the children the ability to become a part of Jacob’s bedtime adventure.
BEFORE the party starts
Use the link (see below) to download invitations that are sure to get responses!
If you want to create your own invitations:
-Use construction paper to cut out little pajama bottoms and write the desired information on the legs. Use colored ribbon to make a cute bow on the top to look like pajama draw strings. Put in an envelope and send.
Dress to impress in your snazziest pajamas. (Don’t leave out your stuffed animal for comfort!)
Make sure you have all your food and materials ready and set up for the guests. (I always have extra so that everyone smiles.)
Milk and Cookies
Cookies made in moon, star, and teddy bear shapes
Cupcakes with moons and stars as decoration toppings
Sliced Apples with Peanut Butter (but check for allergies first!)
DECORATIONS are easy for a Pajama theme!
Push living room furniture out of the way first. Throw pillows around the living room and place plenty of blankets around for a cozy atmosphere. To add affect, create a starry sky by hanging white twinkly lights around the party area.
DURING the party
Use the creative writing stars found in the Sourcebooks Pajama Party Kit (see below) as an icebreaker. You can ask questions such as, “What is the best bedtime snack?” or “What stuffed animal do you cuddle with at nighttime?”
Easy obstacle course to get energy out before reading the book:
- Pretend they’re Jacob sprinting to his bed before lights out: jump the pillow, crawl under the chair, go around the footstool and end up in the living room (or party area) for the reading. Have a crepe paper “finish” and “start” lines taped to the floor.
As you read HOW DOES SLEEP COME have the kids count sailboats and guess what animal will appear next. Then, ask them how do they think sleep comes?
SLEEPY TIME FOOD
This would be the perfect time to bring out snacks! (see above)
Like the rabbit in HOW DOES SLEEP COME, race and hop around. To add effect: make a blanket of cotton balls on the floor so that it feels like clouds and snow.
Pajama Contest with winners and prizes for most comfy, most sleepy time props, brightest PJs, and more. Prizes could be a small plush toy or candy.
If it’s a sleepover, have a sleeping bag relay race (similar to potato sac race)
Decorate pillowcases to make your very own Dream Canvas to sleep on!
Buy blank pillow cases and assorted permanent markers (safe to sleep on) and draw away!
You can also use the pillow case as a cape to look like Jacob on the cover.
Use the downloadable Sourcebooks Pajama Party Kit for activities that will allow the kids to interact with Jacob’s bedtime in How DOES SLEEP COME?
Slip one of the cookies they might have enjoyed during the party into a cellophane CD envelope, tie with colored yarn, and add a nice Thank You note or tag. On the less expensive side, simply use sandwich baggies or saran wrap!
The Thank You note can be made with colored construction paper cut out in moons or stars, punch a whole, and attach to yarn!
Packets of hot cocoa mix, so when they go home and get ready for bed, they can feel all snuggly and warm.To jazz up the packets, add a Thank You note using the ideas listed above.
Make your own bookmarks with dreamlike pictures like the ones you find in the book.
Purchase glow-in-the-dark stars and put a few in 5.5 ” L x 1.5 ” W envelopes. You can write Thank You on the front and draw on moons and stars.
Have fun planning your Pajama Party to celebrate HOW DOES SLEEP COME?
Special Thanks to Sourcebooks for including me on the tour!
A clever counting book and fable unlike any other and winner of the 2011 Governor General’s Award for Illustration. Ten birds are trying to figure out how to get to the other side of the river. The bird they call “Brilliant” devises a pair of stilts. The bird they call “Highly Satisfactory” engineers a raft. One by one, nine resourceful birds make the crossing until a single bird is left behind ? the one they call “Needs Improvement.” This bird’s solution proves surprising ? and absurdly simple.
Aside from the stunning pen and ink illustrations, this book has so many wonderful aspects. Numeracy (Math Literacy) as it is a counting book. Problem solving, critical thinking as using the resources around them each bird creates a way across the river until only one is left. I can see this inspiring many “build & construct” activities and contraption building at home and in the classroom. I think one of the more outstanding parts of the story is the message within it. Each bird is given a label “Brilliant, Excellent, Highly Satisfactory” as they design their way across the river. It is the last bird that has been labelled “Needs Improvement” that seems to uncover the most obvious way to cross. I love the subtlety to that message. It’s done in a way that isn’t preachy, as some children’s books can be… it reminds us that labels don’t mean anything. When I’ve shared with families, they children often shout out but birds can fly!! They’ve found a way across too! I’ll be presenting a special program for families in November based on the book.
Ten Birds is my communities “Let’s Read” selection for 2012. Each year a book is selected for families around the region to share together. There are special events, contests and author events planned. For more information about the program visits here : Let’s Read.