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.
Published by Simon and Schuster for Young Readers 2012
Source: Library Copy
The Twilight Zone comes to the carrot patch in this clever picture book parable about a rabbit who fears his favorite treats are out to get him. Jasper Rabbit loves carrots—especially Crackenhopper Field carrots. He eats them on the way to school.
He eats them going to Little League. He eats them walking home. Until the day the carrots start following him…or are they?
I’m not sure how this 2013 Caldecott Honor Book slipped under my radar when it was first released but I am so glad that it was brought to my attention this week.
Jasper raids the carrot fields on a daily basis until he starts to think that the carrots are stalking him! Tension builds page after page as the reader sees what Jasper does…carrots everywhere, but his parents don’t seem to believe him. A great homage to bedtime experiences for many children and their parents (perhaps with monsters instead of carrots) and a fantastic twist in the end make this a dynamic read aloud for many different ages. Peter Brown’s illustrations are a compliment to the story creating a slightly ominous atmosphere, that has this “film noir” feel to it. Creepy Carrots! deserves to be more than just a seasonal “Halloween” spooky read and would be a great addition to any home library or children’s programming shelf. A new favourite. Creepy Carrots!
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.