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Monthly tips for parents

Summer Learning, Side-by-Side

By: Reading Rockets
Children are full of questions about the world around them, and summer is a perfect time to tap into your child's interests. Here are some ways to start a journey of discovery together.

Summer is a fun season! It's full of interesting bugs, games, and activities. These may lead to lots of questions from your kids:

  • How do fireflies light up?
  • Where do all the thunderstorms come from?
  • Who made the rules for baseball?
  • Why does it stay light for so long?
  • How do you make ice cream?
  • Where do the colors in fireworks come from?
  • What happens if I swallow a watermelon seed?

Grab hold of one of your child's questions and start a journey of discovery together!

  • Make regular visits to the library to find books, magazines, and movies on the topic your child is interested in. Look for related fiction as well as non-fiction.
  • Ask questions as you read together or when your independent reader finishes a book. Ask your child to tell you something new or surprising he learned, or to read a section that was full of interesting words.
  • Help your child learn the basics of Internet research, at home or at the library. Bookmark a few kid-friendly, educational websites and guide him through simple searches. Look at the American Library Association's Great Websites for Kids page for ideas.
  • Check out the summer programming schedule on your local public television station or educational shows on cable to see if there are shows related to your child's new interest.
  • Seek out free or inexpensive resources in your community: parks and recreation center programs, a community garden or farmer's market, museums (many have kids-get-in-free days), and neighborhood interest groups like the Stargazers Club — or start your own interest group! Taking a field trip together and having a hands-on experience can really add to what you have been learning from books and movies.
  • Keep a record of what you learn together — it's is a great way to engage young learners, provide writing practice, and help kids retain new knowledge. Start a journal, create a scrapbook, or send a handmade postcard to family or friends.
  • Invite your child to talk with family and friends about her new interest. Maybe your child never knew that grandpa collects rocks, too, and has a wonderful collection and stories to share. Encouraging kids to share with others gives them a chance to have some fun taking on the role of teacher!
Reading Rockets (2008)

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Maria Salvadore
Maria Salvadore
Start with a Book: Read. Talk. Explore.
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