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Ways to Work Reading into Your Family's Summer Fun

Families play a big role in motivating children to read, and we don’t get the summers off.  And if you feel like you’re running out of ideas as the summer break comes to a close, here are a few strategies you may want to try over the next few weeks:

Combine activities with books.  Summer means more time for families to enjoy fun activities such as going on vacation, going on a picnic, or going to the beach. Why not also encourage kids to read a book about the activity? If you’re going to a movie, suggest that your child read a book about the movie before you see it.  If you’re visiting another city, stat, or country, pick up a book and have the kids read fun facts about your destination.

Lead by example.  Read the newspaper, pick up a magazine, and stuff a paperback in your bag. If kids see the adults around them reading often, they will understand that literature can be a fun and important part of their summer days.

Talk it up.  Chatting about what you have read lets your kids know that reading plays a big role your life. Tell them why you liked a book, what you learned from it, or how it helped you— they’ll love this chance to chat with you about something other than chores or schoolwork.


Baby Animals: Pets, (Kingfisher, 2011), $5.99.  Babies and toddlers will squeal with delight when they see the real-life pictures of some of the cutest pets around.  And with someone reading to them about what cuties like hamsters, guinea pigs and kittens say and do, they’ll start to build their knowledge of pets.

Baby Animals:  In the Forest, (Kingfisher, 2011), $5.99.  You’ll get a kick out of watching a baby or toddler’s reaction as you read about baby foxes sniffing out worms, apples and beetles to munch on or twitching squirrels with bushy tails.  The colorful photographs in this board book make it easy for young readers-in-training to turn the pages.

Baby Animals:  In the Jungle, (Kingfisher, 2011), $5.99.  You may learn a thing or two from this book as you read to your baby or toddler about spots and stripes on a tapir or the round, sticky toes on a froglet.  Beautiful photographs will capture the attention of even the youngest reader.

Baby Animals:  In Grasslands, (Kingfisher, 2011), $5.99.  Babies and toddlers will love learning about which animal mommies have hairy backs and which ones POP! out of eggs.  Pictures of these adorable grassland babies will also have your youngsters cooing with delight!

ABC Kids, by Simon Basher, (Kingfisher, 2011), $17.99. From Arthur, who had an angry ant that ate apples, to Zack, who likes to zap zeppelins, this book uses clever alliteration to help young readers learn their alphabet.  Each page uses the author’s signature Manga-style artwork to introduce a new letter in an artistic way.

AGES 7-11

Extreme Rainforest:  Amazing Encounters with Incredible Animals, by Nam Nyugen, (Kingfisher, 2011), $8.99.  Even though rainforests cover only six percent of the world’s surface, they are home to over half of the plant and animal life on Earth.  Some of the most “extreme creatures” on the planet make their homes in the rainforest.  Why?  How did they adapt to the harsh environment?  This book, with its vivid photographs and most current information, takes young readers deep into the rainforest to show how some of the most out-of-the-ordinary animals live.

AGES 9-12

KenKarta:  Battle of the Onoxmon, by Alison Kartevold, (The Artists’ Orchard, 2011), $25.98.  This tale of fantasy leads young readers through the magical kingdom of KenKarta as it tells the story of two princesses, Veronica and Sophia, and their special powers.  Just as the princesses are learning to use their gifts, the evil Lord Leamoldae returns from banishment looking for revenge. In his quest to gain the powerful Onoxmon, he traps the King and Queen and kidnaps Princess Sophia. Now Sophia must rely on her gifts to survive while Princess Veronica, a stable boy named Zane and an assortment of mythical creatures embark on a deadly quest to save her. 


Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen, (Algonquin Books, 2007), $13.95.  This elderly man’s recollection of his youth captures you the moment you turn the first page.  From a long-ago murder to the harsh realities of a life lived revolving around a circus during the Depression, this spellbinding story segues effortlessly from a present-day Jacob Jankowski, who is “ninety.  Or Ninety-three.  One or the other,” to the 23-year-old Jacob just finishing his veterinary training at Cornell.  Jacob’s life-story begins when young Jacob’s parents are killed in a car accident, leaving him broke and homeless.  On a whim, he jumps on a circus train and is soon caught up in a world filled with sleazy side shows, fascinating animals, dark characters, and the love of his life.


Thomas & Friends Playdate Pack,

Lionsgate & HIT Entertainment

Start  your engines and chuff along to the ultimate playdate! Thomas and all his railway friends welcome you aboard for three exciting DVDs. Adventure is full steam ahead as the engines attend Sodor’s Winter Festival, race along with a new jet engine, visit the construction site of the new school, track down a possible monster and more!


Troy Kouklis, 6-years, says he really liked the Thomas Character Gallery & Bonus DVD Games.

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Tags: Enrichment

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