Finally. The last assignment of the school year has been turned in. And you now have THREE FULL MONTHS of *mostly* free time that you can spend, not on homework, but on reading. FOR FUN. Even if you're not a student or teacher whose brain works in terms of semesters, summertime is still the perfect opportunity for catching up on your reading list. As you begin earmarking certain titles as "must-reads" for this summer, I will leave you with my list of 14 books which I intend to devour (some for the first, second, or third time!) this summer. If you have read (or want to read) any of these titles please leave your comment below; I'd love to hear your thoughts. Also, feel free to comment with YOUR 2015 summer reading list! Enjoy!
The following is an original story-time idea which I designed as an assignment for the Library Services for Children and Young Adults course which I took this spring as a part of my MLIS requirements. Any feedback or ideas are welcome and greatly appreciated!
Age Group Targeted: 5-7
STEM Concept & Skill Focus: Learning that seeds, with proper conditions, will grow into the beautiful plants that we see all around us.
Early Literacy Topics: Background Knowledge & Vocabulary
Aside: "Children need background knowledge, or general knowledge about the world, to later understand what they read. Background knowledge includes knowing information about things, understanding ideas and concepts like opposites, having thinking skills like problem solving and predicting, and knowing how stories work. Today I'll show some ways we can share information with our children when we talk, read, write, sing, and play with them." (Ghoting & Martin-Diaz, 234)
Empower Aside: When you are out with your child take the opportunity to talk with them about the plants which you see and have a conversation with them about the plants and the seeds which they came from. This not only reiterates the scientific process of plant growth, but the continued conversation helps provide them with more background information that will help prepare them to read.
Song: A Tiny Little Seed Song by Mary J https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49WEE7LKRws
I’m a tiny little seed in the ground
I’m a tiny little seed in the ground.
You won’t know that I’m here ‘cause I never make a sound
I’m a tiny little seed in the ground.
But with a little bit of rain and some sun
Just a little bit of rain and some sun.
I start to grow, poke myself out to try to see the sun
With a little bit of rain and some sun.
Then I grow and I grow and I grow a little more
I grow I grow and I grow a little more.
Then one day I’ll bloom into a beautiful flower
All from a tiny little seed in the ground.
Book: The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle http://www.amazon.com/The-Tiny-Seed-Eric-Carle/dp/088708155X
Snacks: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, watermelon (to show the seeds inside and that they will someday turn into a watermelon plant)
Craft: Grow Your Own "Tiny Little Seed"
Have a table set up with empty yogurt containers, tape, pre cut paper, markers, mixed potting soil, and sunflower plant seeds.
Instruct the children to pick out a yogurt container and to take a piece of paper to decorate with their name, drawings, etc. They will then wrap the paper around the outside of their yogurt cup and tape it on so that their "pot" is decorated and easily distinguished from the other kids'.
Once the drawing & taping is complete, instruct them to carefully fill their "pot" about 2/3 full with soil.
Then have them pick out a seed from several different choices: sunflower seeds, daisy seeds, corn, or bean.
As they are finishing this step explain to them how to care for their plant (watering it and keeping it in a warm, sunny location).
On February 16, 2011 I had been working at Borders for about two and half years when we received the news that the company would be filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy and subsequently closing all of its stores by fall, in two waves. Our store was in the first wave and for the next two months we experienced the liquidation of books. The type of people who end up working at a bookstore for any length of time are typically the type of people who enjoy reading and have a profound love of books and the written word. So to see our store completely trashed after the first day of liquidation was hard. But to hear the countless numbers of people telling us that "books are dead" or that "no one buys books anymore" was even harder. But only because we, as book lovers, did not believe that to be true.
The death of Borders was the death of a poorly run company, not the death of books. Today, more than four years later, people still buy books and they still frequent bookstores. Could it be that the death of a giant book conglomerate like Borders actually made room for another type of book buying experience to grow and flourish?
In the last four years the number of independent bookstores across America has grown by 25%. This comes during a time when consumers are commonly choosing to put their dollars in smaller, local businesses rather than big, box stores. In honor of the inaugural Independent Bookstore Day, small bookstores across the country offered discounts, featured guest authors, and coordinated games and prizes, all to huge turnouts and massive participation.
It will be a pleasure in the future to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day, but I can only hope that the holiday's success is accompanied by further success of the bookstores it seeks to honor.
Making her first appearance in the literary world in 1930, Nancy Drew quickly became a character whose wit, curiosity, and intrigue attracted millions of readers for generations to come. This year we recognize 85 years of Nancy Drew: the literary creation of Mildred Benson (pseudonym Carolyn Keene) who was a groundbreaking female character in her own right. Hired to write the Nancy Drew books by the Stratemeyer Syndicate who created the pen name and initially published the series, Benson became the first graduate to receive a Master's Degree in Journalism from the University of Iowa in 1927. In addition to being a fiction author and journalist, Benson even branched out into flying, earning her pilot's license in her later years.
It was possibly her own adventurous and confident attitude that Benson built into her most famous character, Nancy Drew. Always inspired to follow a lead and pursue a curious story, Nancy seemed to have few limits. This may well be the most appealing attribute of the girl detective who won the hearts of millions.
As a young girl, I too fell prey to the exciting adventures of Nancy Drew, being drawn first to the mystery aspect of the series, but quickly becoming hooked on the characters and their own individual stories as well. During these childhood years I was quick to read every book, diving at the next in the series and even re-reading many of my favorites (in particular the 1931 "The Secret of Red Gate Farm"). I loved the world of Nancy Drew and can say with confidence that the Nancy Drew series helped to inspire in me a life long love of books and reading. These books were the first where I found myself highly engaged in the continual narrative and really attached to the characters of the story. Of course I would experience these feelings again and again with series like "Harry Potter," "The Lord of the Rings," and "His Dark Materials," but Nancy Drew was really the jumping off point for me. In fact I think it is reasonable to say that this is possibly the case for many adult readers who can look back and pinpoint this series as integral in inspiring a love of reading.
While there continue to be excellent book series written for young readers like "The Sisters Grimm," "Percy Jackson and the Olympians," "The Underland Chronicles," and "Fablehaven," to name a few, Nancy Drew remains in the ranks. Its good storytelling, likeable characters, and exciting adventure provides yet another great option for young readers to inspire within themselves a love of reading.