Summer Reads for the Kids

If you’re anything like me, you want your magical creatures to continue reading after the last school bell rings for summer. Of course you do! It keeps their little minds working through the summer months, but we also want them to see that reading is FUN!!!! And summer reading can be a great time for that. No books they HAVE to read or have completed by a certain time. Time for some relaxation and FREEDOM!

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So to prepare you for the coming months, I have some cautionary words,  some encouragement and some reading suggestions!

Words of Caution, Suggestion and Encouragement:

As a mom and a teacher I have learned – many times the hard way – some things about encouraging reading:

  1. Your kiddos may not be interested in the same types of books that interest you.     BE OK WITH THAT!
  2. If your young readers don’t know what types of books they like yet, grab a big pile of age and level appropriate books of all different genres that sound fun (to your kid…not necessarily you) and take them all home to peruse!
  3. With that – KNOW WHAT YOUR KIDS ARE READING!!! I wrote another post about that a while ago and it might be worth the read. Be aware that knowing what our kids are reading is no different than being vigilant about what they watch. Please don’t send your kid off into the reading world without being willing to read what they are reading and discuss it. Just because it is a book does not mean that the words and topics inside are appropriate.
  4. Don’t be a book snob! What you are reading or your kid is reading does not make you or your kid better than my honor student! Some folks like reading chick lit, which makes me want to poke my eye out!!!, but does not mean that they are less of a reader than I am. I read quite a bit of fantasy and sci-fi which most people giphy.gifconsider extremely weird and dorky. Soooooo to each his own. Graphic novels, mysteries, fantasy, classics – READ ALL THE BOOKS! AND LET YOUR KIDS!!!!
  5. Let your kids see you reading! If your kids see that you enjoy reading, that it’s an adventure, then hopefully they won’t view it as a chore.
  6. Be patient. Be willing to help your magical creatures find the books that speak to them. It might take a while – but it will be worth the wait.

Those are just a few little tidbits I have gathered over the years. And to help you put some of them into practice I have some awesome suggestions for you to share with your kids!

The Books of Ember

The Ember series is great for girls and boys! There are two protagonists – Dune and Lina – who are both inquisitive, adventurous and caring to the point of sacrifice. So I think you will love the values presented and young readers will be captivated with the adventure and the incredibly unique world that Jeanne DuPrau creates in this series.

This first book in the series, City of Ember, introduces the world of Ember where children quit school at the age of 12 and begin an apprenticeship for the job they will do that will allow them to keep their city running. Readers will love the mystery of the city and its origins.

The following books, The People of Sparks and The Diamond of Darkhold continue and complete the story of the people of Ember while Dune and Lina continue to be heroes throughout. The Prophet of Yonwoodwhile it is a prequel, should be read in the order it appears in the series. It will ruin the surprises and mystery of the first books if it is read in chronological order!

This would be a great series for you and your kiddos this summer! Wait, you’ve already read The Books of Ember?!?!?! Here are some other suggestions! Follow the links for some great deals on books and ebooks!

 

 

 

***One thing I have grown to love about Amazon is that it offers suggestions of books similar to the one I’m already looking at. Which means you could browse books for hours!!!***

(this page contains amazon affiliate links. gifs are not my own and courtesy of star2.com and GIFER)

Encouraging Reading

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Are you a parent, a teacher, a friend, a co-worker, a student…a person? Chances are you fall into one of these categories. That being the case, then you most likely know people. Among those people are probably persons who have, at one time or another, admitted that “I’m not a reader” or “I wish I liked books” or “I HATE reading.” It’s OK, don’t be too shocked.  It’s true.  There are people out there who do not like to read. In fact, maybe you are one of these people.

But I have a theory! I think that those folks who fall into the “I don’t like to read” category just have not found WHAT it is they LIKE to read. I believe that in school the books they read had the joy sucked out of them by projects or detailed tests. (I’m a teacher, so I know that does happen. In fact, I was most likely a joy-sucker, myself.) Perhaps some people had such a small exposure to reading growing up that they don’t realize that the genres and reading material is infinite. I think that, unfortunately, there are some people who have had the idea planted in their heads that they aren’t “smart enough” or “intellectual enough” to enjoy certain types of literature. What?! Preposterous!

I’m a mom of three beautiful kiddos….or creatures that pass for children. Sometimes I’m not sure.  But anyway, my little ones are growing in ways that surpass my understanding.  And part of that is that they are starting to become interested in things individual to themselves.  One of my great joys are our frequent trips to the library. Oh the library – what a glorious place. We can spend quite a while walking up and down the aisle together trying to find the perfect companion to accompany us home. But the thing is each one wants a different adventure. Annnnnnnd!!!! part of it is that they are so young and so new to this magical thing we call reading, that many times they choose books that fall into such contrasting genres that it makes me joyous to remember that time of discovery and learning who I was through story.

So what does that mean for us and encouraging others to read? Well, it means that we have friends and children and co-workers and neighbors that might love a bookish adventure, but would never know! First, we need to be aware that there are so many more genres and mediums than there used to be. Graphic novels are extraordinary reading material (Amulet, manga The Fullmetal Alchemist). There are so many talented writers of non-fiction who tell the story of a person’s life or history in a way that we feel like we could have lived it with him. (My hat off to Ms. Laura Hillenbrand!)

Not to mention magazines.  Yes.  I said magazines.  I’ve had many a student come through my room with a mother distraught because her son wouldn’t read.  Guess what he would read – hunting magazines and articles.  Why is that not acceptable? If he likes reading those there are books on hunting. Or novels about young men who survive in the wild (Hatchet, My Side of the Mountain, Into the Wild). I am passionate about exploring new genres with kids or my friends and seeing them get excited when they stumble across one that they really fall in love with.

Audio books!!!!! What a great way to help struggling readers follow along with a book. Or to help non-readers learn the excitement of a story by listening first. There are so many well produced audio books (Harry Potter series read by Jim Dale -wow!) that we cannot exclude them from our discussion.  We readers are lovers of story! The beauty of a book doesn’t come from a page with a smattering of letters on it. It comes from the world that materializes when those words are strung together in precisely the right pattern.

So for heaven’s sake! Let someone read to you from your car stereo while you’re on a long drive. Show your kids to the graphic novels shelves…or you go look in the adult section. Pick a fun read you think your friends would like to discuss and try a read along. If you’re a non-reader, experiment at the library.  Take home a plethora of new finds and give each of them a go.

There are millions of worlds out there, waiting to be explored, let’s not keep them to ourselves!