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Archive for the ‘Summer Reading’ Category

Where to Get Great Books for Summer Reading

The manga section at Barnes & Noble in Colma, ...

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Every Thursday the Skyping Reading Tutor, Joanne Kaminski, is a parenting expert on a blog talk radio show called the Total Education Hour.  I have an entire week to think of a great question.  My question this week was, where can you find great books to read for your children over the summer.

There are so many fantastic places to go to get great books and I am going to list my top ten here.  My first suggestion is to take a look at the summer reading list that your school or current teacher may give you.  This will give you a good starting point of books to look for.  Once you have that list you can go to the following places to get them.

  1. The library – Who can beat free?  Some libraries are connected with other local libraries and all you have to do is go to your computer, request the book, they call you when it is ready, and you pick it up.
  2. School library – many school libraries are open in the summer and allow you to check out books.
  3. Ebooks – Reading an e-book doesn’t feel the same as reading a regular book and some kids enjoy this.  Many books come for free in an ebook format.  Check it out.
  4. Local Bookstore – Support your local bookstore.  These wonderful little treasures are becoming less and less due to bigger stores like Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
  5. Bookswap with a friend – have your child make a list of all of the books that he/she has and switch lists with a friend.  The kids can recommend books to each other and enjoy books for free.
  6. Bookswap online – These are great fun.  If you list 10 books you get free credits.  People start asking you to send books to them and all you pay is media shipping, which is less than regular shipping.  Whenever you want a book, type in the title and see if one of the members has it.  It is as easy as that.
  7. Rummage sales – you will always find bestsellers at rummage sales because that is what people are reading.
  8. Goodwill – Many people just donate their books to the Goodwill.  Check out their selection.
  9. Amazon – I usually try looking for books in all of the other places first and if I can’t find there, then I go to Amazon, put it in my shopping cart and pay for my books after I have reached the $25 mark.  I rarely need a book immediately and it is always a sweet surprise to see what I have selected when I reach the point to purchase.

Enjoy this great tool for where to get great books for the summer for your child (or yourself).  Happy Reading and listen to The Total Education Network.

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Hooked on Series in South Carolina

A photo of some Baseball Card Adventures books.

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When you hear words like just right books, making predictions, asking questions, and author studies, then you know that you have entered a classroom where great first teaching is happening.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of reading a chapter of a book to a group of second graders in Ms. Witherspoon’s class in South Carolina.  These kids are so hyped on reading that they even started their own Magic Tree House book club.  How cool is that?

Once I heard that their favorite book series currently was the Magic School House Series, I knew that I could introduce them to another amazing author, Dan Gutman.  This man writes amazing books and one of his series is the Baseball Card Adventures.  The book that I shared with these students was Honus and Me.  This is a fiction book about Honus Wagner a great baseball player and how a very lucky boy ends up with his baseball card.  Not only does Honus come and visit the boy through the card, but also the boy gets to go back in time and see Honus play a real live game.

After I read the first chapter of this book, Ms. Witherspoon mentioned that she had this book in her classroom library.  She also had the book Jackie and Me.  So, the kids will have the opportunity to check out a new series and keep reading over the summer.

I love promoting reading over the summer and I have a special philosophy.  If you hook a kid on a series then you can hook them onto reading for life.  Sometimes that is all it takes.  Ms. Witherspoon has hooked her kids on great books and they will definitely be reading over the summer.

Is Summer Learning Loss in Reading a Concern for you?

Our children work so hard over the school year, there has to be some time for fun in the summer, right?  Absolutely!  However, we also have to make sure that summer time, fun time, and learning time make a connection.  The number one question I get asked all of the time is what should I do to make sure my child doesn’t have a summer learning loss in Reading.

Most people would think that it is to just read.  Fair enough, but we also want to make sure that they are having fun and there are a ton of ways to motivate kids to read in the summer.  One way is to join a summer enrichment program at your local library.  Your child will be rewarded for reading books and be given prizes and tickets to local fun places. The local library will also have fun programs that your child can take part in and grade level appropriate book clubs.

Another place that you can log your reading minutes for fun is Scholastic’s Read for the World Record.  Last year students all over the world read for 4,031,939 minutes.  I like that kids are working together to beat the world record.  Schools that work together for this goal get featured in the 2012 Scholastic Book of World Records.

PBS Kids also has a summer reading challenge.  If you submit your e-mail they will give you great tips over the summer to keep your child reading.

Why read over the summer?  Is it really that important?  Yes, it is.  Did you know that 50-67% of the achievement gap is due to “summer reading loss”?  Reading over the summer has proven to be a prevention to summer reading loss.  Students who choose not read or are not guided/motivated to over the summer are two years behind their classmates by the time they enter 6th grade.  In this day and age with budget cuts, schools do not have the resources to provide reading interventions for all of the students that are behind.  Thank goodness there are useful tutoring companies out there that can help.

It is great to know that in this wonderful day and age that students do not just have to read chapter books in order for reading to count.  Students can immerse themselves with a variety of different sources for their reading pleasure.  For example, kids can read

  • magazines
  • e-books
  • Recorded books
  • Graphic novels
  • Blogs
  • Author Websites
  • Recipes
  • Science experiements

Choice is a huge influence in motivating children to read, so the more choices they have the better.  Never make it seem like your child needs to read, just present the opportunities for them to read.  As a parent one of the things that I do is go to rummage sales, pick out books that I know my kids will like and put them on their bed as a little surprise.  The other day my daughter picked up one of these books and started reading it.  She is on the final chapter.

Keep your kids reading and enjoy the summer with the most precious people in your world. For some additional ideas listen to Joanne Kaminski on the Total Education Show.


Total Education Show Parent Experts Ask Questions 05/12 by Total Tutor | Blog Talk Radio.

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