Listen here for the lively discussion of best books, strategies for engaging young readers and being a “present” parent. And be sure to check out the list of recommended summer reading. There’s still time to enjoy lots of good books this summer!
Activate imaginations and all your kids’ senses when you head outside with books. The sense of wonder that nature provides is exactly the curiosity you want your child to bring to a book. Even if you are limited to exploring your backyard or the local park, there are lots of simple ways to spend enjoyable times reading and learning together in the great outdoors.
Go on a booknic
This summer, make room in the picnic basket for books! Choose a theme around family food and reading preferences and pack accordingly. Try:
- Honey grahams with Pooh in the Hundred Acre Wood
- Bread and jam with Bread and Jam for Frances
- Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert with a taste of fruits and vegetables from around the world
For younger kids with earlier bedtimes, the excitement of getting to go outside at night will make a bedtime story and snack most memorable. Get your flashlight, blankets or a sleeping bag story and enjoy a story about stars under the stars. Try:
Her Seven Brothers by Paul Goble
Stars by Mary Lyn Ray
How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers
Find the Constellations by H.A. Rey
Pi Day isn’t just for math lovers. Circle around to readers and get everyone in on the fun!
Pi Day, which is named after Pi, the mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, or 3.14, is a great day to bring reading and math together. The month/day format that connects Pi to the calendar is extra special in 2015 because it equals the first 5 significant digits of Pi: 3.1415. And if you want to time your celebration just right, wait until 9:26:53 is on the clock. You’ll get even more digits of Pi!
To make the day an even bigger celebration, honor Albert Einstein along with π. March 14 is his birthday! It’s also the perfect excuse to serve up a delicious birthday pie.
So celebrate! It is easy as Pi to share Pi related books, read up on Einstein or trade trivia or interesting Pi facts with the titles and links below!
Bring tons of math fun to readers ages 7 and up with Why Pi? by Johnny Ball
Cindy Neuschwander and illustrator Wayne Geehanan take readers 8 and up on an epic math adventure with Sir Cumference, Lady Di of Ameter, and Radius in Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi
Jennifer Berne and illustrator Vladimir Radunsky beautifully explain the work of Albert Einstein to a young audience in On a Beam of Light. Ages 6 and up.
Albert Einstein (Giants of Science) by Kathleen Krull is a lively, accessible biography for readers 9 and up.
Pi and Einstein resources:
- Pi Activities from the Exploratorium
- All things Pi on the Pi Day website
- Get inspired by the Pi and Einstein fun at Pi Day Princeton
- Read Einstein’s papers at the Einstein Papers Project
- Enjoy listening to Was Einstein a Space Alien?
- Check out photos of Einstein’s brain
- Make a tasty looking Pi pie
This month, support a love of reading by showing your own enthusiasm for books! Read to kids, read in front of kids and expose them to all kinds of exciting and fascinating aspects of the written word. To make reading something kids look forward to every day this month, take advantage of the special dates and activities on the February calendar.
Celebrate Black History Month
Share the stories of African Americans throughout history and honor their contributions to our culture and country during Black History Month.
- Watch interviews with celebrated African American children’s book authors and illustrators at Reading Rockets
- Find great books about the achievements of Black Americans and their role in U.S. history in your local library
Belle of the Book with Sherri Smith, Walter Dean Myers and E.B. Lewis
Join the National African American Read-In
Throughout the month of February the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English invites schools, churches, libraries, bookstores, communities and readers from all walks of life to make promoting literacy a traditional part of Black History Month activities and celebrate and share the works of African American writers.
- National African American Read-In website
- Find books authored by African Americans at your local library
Brush up on Dental Heath during National Children’s Dental Health Month
Learning about good oral health is fun for kids when they sink their teeth into a good book.
- National Children’s Dental Health Month
- Bring big smiles with books about taking care of teeth from your local library
Fill your Valentine’s Day with books
Valentine’s Day can be more than candy, hearts, and flowers. Extend the love to poetry and books and encourage kids to share their favorite poems, titles or authors on February 14.
- Enjoy heartfelt poetry with author Laura Elliott at Reading Rockets
- Find books about sharing the love of books and reading in your local library
Hail to the books on Presidents’ Day
Use books to celebrate and honor the lives of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and to reflect on the contributions of all the men who have served our country as President. To distinguish the first and sixteenth presidents, plan read alouds on their actual birthdays: George Washington was born on February 22 and Abraham Lincoln on February 12.
- Virtually visit the homes of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln or explore the lives, contributions and places associated with 43 American Presidents
- Find books about U.S. Presidents in your local library
Get ready for March (reading) Madness!
Theodor Geisel, known and beloved as Dr. Seuss, wrote and illustrated more than 40 books and gave us some of the most memorable characters in children’s literature including the Cat in the Hat. His March 2nd birthday is the date of the nation’s largest celebration of reading. NEA’s Read Across America events and activities—with red and white hatted readers—bring reading excitement on Dr. Seuss’s birthday and provides resources to keep kids reading 365 days a year.
My traveling companions–son Breece, niece Avery, my mom–and I covered more than 2,500 miles during our pilgrimage. We’ve been blogging about our Little Journey on the Prairie at Reading Rockets and that’s where you should go to read about what three generations of readers saw, learned and loved about each historic site. There’s also a bit of advice for those planning to make their own little journey and plenty of ideas for parents and educators who want to help kids connect to the stories and history of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family.
But here’s where I’ll offer some additional insights and photos as things strike me or as I learn even more about Laura from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Massive Online Course from Missouri State University.
Here’s your first tidbit:
And did you know that when Charles Ingalls traded away the ponies, Pet and Patty, Jack was part of the deal? The real Jack didn’t travel back from the prairie and never once played along the banks of Plum Creek.
Dear, faithful Jack!
Summer is a great time to get a little crazy in the kitchen and for food-related field trips! At Random Acts of Reading, you’ll find my Dr. Seuss inspired recipes that will take your reading and cooking adventures on beyond Green Eggs and Ham.
You’ll also find food fun, like these One Fish Two Fish Treats at Seussville.com.
- Bees (make a smoothie)
- Cooking (bake a pie; create a cooking show)
- Farms (where food comes from)
- Green Eggs and Ham (tasting party)
- Weather (stormy pancakes)
- Where the Wild Things Are (food sculpture)
Each Reading Adventure Pack includes great book recommendations. But if you want to sample some other food and cooking related titles, try these:
Looking for true love this Valentine’s Day? Connect a kid with a book and watch the sparks fly!
The wise and wonderful Katherine Paterson said, “It is a sign of wonderful love and affection to read aloud to someone, and we love it. So, we should never stop reading aloud.”
Make some book love this Valentine’s Day! Read aloud with your loved ones and enjoy these titles about a love for books and reading.
The Plot Chickens by Mary Jane and Herm Auch
I Am the Book: Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins. Illustrated by Yayo
The Library by Sarah Stewart. Pictures by David Small
But Excuse Me That is My Book by Lauren Child
That Book Woman by Heather Henson. Pictures by David Small
Book! Book! Book! by Deborah Bruss. Illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke
The Hard-Times Jar by Ethel Footman Smothers. Pictures by John Holyfield
Have a very happy Who-liday when you visit Who-ville this Christmas season!Enjoy enchanting scenery and local musical performances
Dig in to delicious local foods Since the Grinch took the last can, sample this Who Hash featuring leftover Roast Beast
Or remember the Grinch with a sweet and tasty souvenir
Send holiday love to friends and family
And relax with a good book