Category Archives: reading

Summer reading lists: a new reality

After horrific school shootings and incidents of violence during this past school year, elementary and junior high summer reading lists include at least title with a theme of survival.

Some books are set in catastrophic events that really happened; others are fiction, but most showcase personal resilience and strength.

Middle graders are especially attracted to these adventures. Whether tied to a specific historical event, the environment, a character or person, stories on lists this summer might have a new reflection of realism. What a sad commentary on the times in which we live.


Forgive, forget and read

An amazing number of treasures are uncovered each spring, as students clean out backpacks, desks and clothes drawers to mark the end of the school year.

Last fall, the three major public library systems in New York City offered a single day of unconditional amnesty to everyone age 17 and under who had late fees. What a benefit, for students whose accounts had been blocked because they hadn’t paid the fees.

I was hoping other library systems might offer a similar program of unconditional amnesty to mark the end of the school year. Reading lists will be coming home soon, and it would be wonderful to forgive and forget, so students could dig into books this summer.

A great read

What a terrific idea!

On the last Sunday paper of each month, the New York Times includes a special kids section.

Sections echo those in the adult version: National, Opinion, Style, Arts, Science, Travel and Food.

Will other newspapers be smart enough to notice that parents applaud screen free alternatives that foster creativity and smarts for their kids?

After all, if a 166 year old newspaper can reinvent itself, perhaps other publishers will catch on to a winning idea.

A long term investment

If you have been reading with your child each day, your student will soon demonstrate the value of your investment on annual achievement tests.

But according to recent research, it could be years before you see the importance of reading daily with your child. Your efforts today are a long-term investment.

Literacy builds life skills, because reading is so much more than language.

Researchers have shown that reading increases a child’s executive function: paying attention, setting goals, controlling impulses and behavior.

So listen as your child reads to you. Or, let your child listen as you read to him. Your investment will pay off.

Sleepytime stories

For generations, reading bedtime stories has been a traditional aspect of parenting.

But there’s a new angle: bedtime stories for adults.

Perhaps the idea is a natural extension of the mindfulness trend or the growing awareness of mental health in the wellness arena.

Whatever the reason, most moms and dads don’t need to relax their brain before falling asleep. Exhaustion is the perennial sleep aid for parents, especially on Christmas Day.

Raising readers

As both an educator and author, I hope that during the Christmas season we continue to see an increasing demand for children’s books.

Many attribute the trend toward the Harry Potter books.

Although J.K. Rowling showed that children will read fantasy, lengthy books and titles with a long, overarching story arc, we’ve seen a continuing surge in all types of children’s publishing.

I’ve always believed it was more important to give a child the right book than a new toy. That’s still true.


Has your child finished assigned summer reading?

The last week of July is often the panic point for students who have one or more books left to read before school starts. Unfortunately, too many kids are turning down some great reading by using the abbreviation, tl; dr, or “too long, didn’t read.”

Encourage your child to experience the joy of losing himself in a longer book. Share a book you loved when you were your child’s age. Or read aloud before bedtime, even if he’s an independent reader.

Parents who share their love of reading might never hear their child decline a book by saying, “tl; dr.”