Friday, July 10, 2020

Kids + Summer Reading (try a book box!)

So do you get it done, amiright?

It's a struggle. Summer is a time to rest, have fun, make memories, and for kids...just be a kid. It's the time we all look back on fondly as having the freedom to be ourselves and spend time with friends without the rigor of homework and getting to school at an unfairly early time.

The standards are set so very high these days, and I want my kids to just feel and soak in life during these months of rest. However, this year, I feel an extra urgency in making sure they're well prepared for next school year. We're living in such odd times, and so much is unknown. 

Will they readjust to the classroom sufficiently after months of learning at home? 
Will they even see a classroom this school year? 
Do I want them to??

I don't know the answers to those questions just yet, so my response is to be a little more formal about their Summer practice. We're spending about an hour a day Monday-Thursday on some school-ish practice doing these things:

  • reading
  • discussing literature (children's, of course)/literacy themes
  • writing an ongoing story together (by just coming up with a few lines at a time)
  • a quick practicing of facts (multiplication for the biggest, sight words for the littlest)
  • completing a set of rotating chores
  • and some art sprinkled in from time to time

I think it's probably no shock to say that ELA matters most to me, and it is for sure the skill I am most passionate about passing down. Life opens up to you, in all ways, if you learn to fall in love with the written word.

My advice? Keep it super-simple. This is our process...

> > I made a reading box for my kids, filled with books we had in the house, but you could also do it
with library books, or a mixture of library and books you have. I did a little research on authors at their reading levels, and mixed them in with books I know they just genuinely enjoy. 

> > They each have a stack to work with for the summer, and Monday-Thursday I set a timer for 30 minutes and we all read. I read along with Jake (my 6 year old) and help him with early readers, and then I read to him from something he's interested in - like this book on rocks and minerals. The other two are fully and happily on their own. Luke (my 11 year old) will even sometimes keep reading for much longer, and then pick it up again at bedtime and stay up way too late reading. I'll never be mad at him for that!

> > Their school gives them summer journals to work with to keep track of books they've read and
even rate and review some of them. I put those on clipboards at the front of their box so they can log what they've read as soon as they've finished. You could just throw a few sheets of paper on a clipboard or a one subject notebook here for them to keep a running list of what they've read.

> > When they're done with that, we talk about what we've read for a few minutes. I ask them to tell me something they liked, to guess what genre they read, and if they noticed any morals or interesting characters. They're more or less detailed depending on the day, but it just gets them thinking in literary terms.

> > The last ELA-ish thing we do (with their brains all primed in writing terms) is work on a family story. I came up with an outlandish, funny idea that I knew would appeal to their humor, and each day we work together to add a few sentences that furthers the story along. Would I like it if they'd all be willing to work on their own stories? Sure. But it's summer, and this is the only way I can get them to happily work on using their writing brains right now.

That's it! Super simple, mostly painless. ;)


  1. Love this idea! Where did you get Jakes summer reading journal? Loved it from you IG story

    1. From school! They design different journals for each grade level and pass them out on the last day of school :) I wish I could share it somehow! I bet Pinterest has something.