A word on children’s books

I am avid reader. I have usually been a fiction reader, this past year I have been more of a nonfiction reader.

When I became a teacher, nearly 15 years ago, I had a few memories of books I enjoyed as a child, but not a huge collection of works–or works that were neatly paired with every standard.

Through teaching I have discovered an incredible appreciation and admiration for children’s books–picture books and young adult alike. It is through this journey that I have created an ongoing commitment to finding great books marked for children.

I scour Amazon Prime reading, I have an account with BookBub, I’m in touch with other teachers, I go to the library, I regularly go to the bookstore and look at what’s new. I’m always trying to find another great read.

I believe that reading books marketed toward children, towards young adults, keeps me young, keeps me connected to kids, and keeps me from languishing in the literature that was given to me as a child–yes, I did have access to great literature, but I did not have access to every genre of great literature. Yes, I did have access to great literature, but great literature is still being made, it didn’t stop when I was a child.

I enjoy reading, I enjoy reading more as a teacher. Teaching has opened a new realm of possibility to relive book memories, and create new ones; it has allowed me to venture beyond what I had been reading–and it gives added purpose to my reading (always looking for that next great classroom hit!). Children’s books are not just for kids. Young adult is not just for young adults. Great books are simply that: great books.

Monthly Advice–May 1

I know it’s the first week of May, but I need everyone to start planning for summer now.

Write a list of things for families to do over the summer, local and easy recommendations, to inspire and ignite creativity and learning over the summer.

Recommend free options as much as possible so that all students can participate and see themselves as active participants in their own learning. Start now, ask around for more ideas, build a nice long list.

Need inspiration? Here are some ideas:

  • Go on a walk every day, talk the entire time (talking is learning, talk about anything your child desires)
  • Bake/cook with your child–conversations around food are filled with vocabulary, reasoning, and mathematical computation
  • Visit the zoo
  • Help around the house–sorting clothing, setting the table, sweeping, etc. help children learn responsibility, practice academic learning, and acquire life skills
  • Take kids to the grocery store–have your child find ingredients, discuss possible recipes, weigh food, etc.
  • Visit a museum, visit many museums
  • Sign-up for a summer reading challenge at the local library
  • Get some art & craft materials from the Dollar store and make something beautiful
  • Learn a new skill: embroidery, sewing, knitting, crocheting, etc. (find a YouTube video and go for it!)
  • Watch TedTalks, documentaries, and other programs that are age-appropriate and educational/spark discussion
  • Do something athletic: basketball, running, walking, skateboarding, baseball, etc.
    • Gross motor skills, fine motor skills, interpersonal & intrapersonal abilities are developed during these experiences
  • Join a summer program–swim class, recreation class, summer camp, etc.

This list is not complete. It includes items that span the K-12 spectrum. Some ideas require parental approval, supervision, and added effort. Some ideas are easily left to the child. This list is meant to be a springboard for a personalized list for your students as they embark on their summer journey–remember even though classroom learning has ended, their life is filled with learning opportunities and they should seize each moment to grow and learn.