I would like to thank my students, their parents, and the entire Flower Hill staff for a fabulous first year at Flower Hill Elementary School! We’ve learned a lot, had many adventures and had fun, too, and I am looking forward to another great year beginning in (late) August!
I came across an interesting article in the Washington Post, written by Deb Werrlein, an adjunct professor of English, and include an excerpt here, and link to the full article. In it she says, “A few weeks ago, my son and I finished reading Stephen King’s “11/22/63: A Novel.” The unusual part is the fact my son will be 18 years old in less than a month. I also read with his sister, who is 14. I didn’t plan to read aloud with my kids for this long. It just happened. As a former adjunct English professor who tutors students with dyslexia, I am an ardent lover of literature. Our home is packed with magazines and novels for all interests and ages. But these days, having a parent who loves and promotes books is not always enough. Reading competes with busy sports schedules, homework, and the ever powerful screens that dominate our kids’ lives. My kids have trouble saying no to the incessant flow of Netflix entertainment that draws them away from books. While they love a good story, they are not bookworms the way I was as a kid. Consequently, I discovered early that reading together encouraged an activity that my kids may have skipped altogether. It’s well known that reading aloud benefits infants, toddlers and emerging readers. Aside from introducing children to a love of literature and storytelling, reading exposes them to written language, which differs from the spoken word. Writing contains more description and typically adheres to more formal grammatical structures than speech. When you choose books that exceed your child’s independent reading level, you promote language acquisition, increase vocabulary, and improve comprehension. These benefits foster literacy in young people, but the pluses don’t diminish just because the kids grow up. When we finally turned the last page, I was sad for the end of an era. My son will graduate this June and leave for college in August. But I’m so grateful for the stacks of books and memories we’ve made over the years. From “Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?” to the Magic Treehouse series, to classics like “Huckleberry Finn,” to fantasy series like Harry Potter, to dramas like “Ordinary People,” and of course, to Stephen King, we’ve shared a lot. Many parents already understand it’s never too early to start reading with their kids.—and it can never go on too long. Reading aloud isn’t only about teaching literacy, it’s about sharing stories, and we can do that at any age. So if you’ve already got a good reading ritual going, don’t stop. And if not, consider plowing through some of that summer reading list out loud. You never know what you might discover together.”
I encourage everyone to read this summer, and for inspiration, provide links to several book lists below:
- Association of Library Services to Children – 2015 Summer Reading Lists
- KidLit TV – 2015 Diverse Summer Reading Lists by grade level
- Montgomery County Public Libraries – book lists by grade level and interest
- Reading Rockets Summer Reading Book Lists 2015
For more family reading-together ideas, be sure to check out Matthew Winner’s “Let’s Get Busy” podcast!
Wishing you many fun summer adventures through books!