Summer Reading and Great Conversations

For kids everywhere, this past school year ended with virtual goodbyes and feelings of uncertainty around what will happen in August. Teachers and students tried their very best during the remote learning, but at times, it was challenging to stay motivated and engaged. So now with summer in full swing, I believe one great way to support kids, academically and emotionally, is through small neighborhood book clubs. 

With a selection of four different books to choose from, I invited my 4th-grade neighbor to join me in some fun summer reading outside on the patio. We are currently reading The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani which is a fantastic story of a girl traveling from Pakistan to India during the partition of 1947. Like any good book club, we have enjoyed snacks while reading favorite parts, and of course, have gotten off topic with conversations about getting your ears pierced, picking out the right cat from the local shelter, and discussing the importance of why people are protesting in the world right now. Sure, the book has supported Penelope’s reading comprehension, but more importantly, our conversations have generated connection which will elevate her social emotional skills and promote the love of reading. And more good news–my book club partner has invited two more neighbors to join us in our next book, Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed.

(Thanks to Dr. Mal Keenan for the blog post this week)

Step up to the Book Buffet!

By Mal Keenan

book buffet

When helping a reader pick out a book, I often feel like I’m working a buffet line- trying to offer the student a variety of choices.  “Realistic fiction is always a good Go-To.  Nonfiction is what some kids really love.  How about something in the Sci-Fi genre?  Have you read a mystery this year? Ever try Historical Fiction? You know… Graphic Novels are all the rage right now and fantasy is super fun.  What sounds good today?”

As teachers and parents, we need to remember what hooks one reader might not be what another reader wants. And as a teacher and parent, I have to remind myself that my fourteen year old is really enjoying a combination platter of sci-fi, realistic fiction, and fantasy, while my younger son is all about the shorter, nonfiction, high interest reads about rock climbing, surfing, and fighting forest fires. Taking the time to peruse the buffet of books at the local library or bookstore will pay off. It’s worth the time to ask questions and help kids to make the right choice.