Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Hammock and a glass of Lemonade

Ok, so I have several favorite times of year. Today I would say my favorite is late spring/early summer (but if you ask me in September, I may say football season) There are many reasons I like this time of year so much. Winter is really over!! School is almost out and summer dangles out in front of me like a piece of chocolate on a string. The bugs are not bad yet. It's not very humid yet. The lawn still looks nice. The birds sing in the morning outside my window. Everyone around me is happy, and smiling. I could go on and on.

When the weather gets like this, one of my favorite things is to find a great book and read outdoors. On the deck, (or in my new hammock I got for mother's day) Books and words facinate me. I love how a good author puts them together and I love being taken away to a different world. Right now I am rereading C.S.Lewis's The Last Battle, from The Chronicles of Narnia.

I wrote my mom a short letter for mother's day. In it I thanked her for giving me such a love of reading. She had such a huge part in cultivating that in me. She took me to the library and helped me find books she thought I would like. She read to me and with me. I saw her take time out of her busy day to get lost in book after book.

You are also having a huge impact on your kids and their love of reading and books. Not every kid will spend countless hours lost in a great story, but even if your child doesn't live to read, they can have a great appreciation for a good story.

As summer approaches, I know it will be a little of a battle for me to get my youngest son lost in literature. If I follow my own mom's lead and guide him toward a book he can get hooked into, that will help. The statistics show how important it is.

• Students regress three months in achievement and these losses are cumulative creating a wider gap each year. By the time a student reaches middle school years, the reading loss can add up to two or more years of lost reading achievement (Franzen & Allington, 2003).

Yikes! The good news is, reading only 5 to 6 books over the summer is sufficient to prevent a decline in reading achievement.

Looking for some good ways to encourage your kids to read? The public library has a great summer reading program. New this year, I will be joining the "Principal's Challenge", providing an extra incentive for home school students to read over the summer. Ask Julie at the children's desk for more information.

Also, Scholastic has a summer challenge you can join on their website. You can have your kids journal about what they read. Discuss what they like and don't like about a book. Have them act out or illustrate a scene from a book. They could write an alternate ending or draw out part of the plot as a comic strip. Or... just curl up in a hammock with some lemonade and get lost in Narnia!

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