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Background knowledge

What’s in a flag?

What do you see when you look at an American flag? What do its colors, stars and stripes call to mind?

“Blue sky/White Stars …”, red and white rows evoke more than simply a flag. It can represent a country’s landscape, its history, and most important, the people who together create one nation, beautiful in their diversity.

Become an explorer in your own backyard or nearby park!

Strengthen your child’s powers of observation and imagination when you spend time together outdoors. You can find nature in a variety of settings within your community, giving children the opportunity to explore by touching, smelling, and examining things to make their own discoveries.

Book-ing Your Child’s Summer Vacation

Even though it is already back-to-school time in some parts of the country, there’s still time for reading fun in the summer sun for everyone!

Legendary children’s storytime performer and early childhood educator Sol Livingston has some great ideas for summer reading that will inspire reading road trips all year round.

Score Big with Books

For many sports-loving kids, summer means heading to the field, court, pitch or pool. But a passion for playing a sport can also get kids reading.

Author Fred Bowen shares how his own love of sports relates to reading and what parents can do to help kids connect their own sports experiences to all kinds of reading.

Hear Me Out About Summer Reading

Summer can provide the time to read that lots of kids need to strengthen skills. But summer also offers other warm-weather distractions that have more kid appeal than books.

Learning Together: Summer Trips with Turning the Page

Kids benefit when their parents are active members of their community. When they feel their families are a part of the community, kids feel safer, valued, and more confident which opens up great opportunities for learning and exploration.

Ellie Canter, Managing Director at Turning the Page, shares how real-life experiences and connections with books help build community in Washington, DC.

A Taste of Nature

The sense of wonder that nature provides is exactly the curiosity you want your child to bring to a book. Even if you are limited to exploring your backyard or the local park, there are many simple ways to spend enjoyable times reading and learning together in the great outdoors.

Is Building Knowledge the Best Way to Increase Literacy Achievement?

Teacher question:

Reading Aloud to Kids and Why Lessons Need Purposes

Teacher question:

Teachers in grades 3, 4 and 5 spend weeks and weeks (like 5-6) reading aloud chapter books to their students. In some classrooms, students have a copy of the book.  Is there research that speaks to the effectiveness of a read-aloud over a period of time?

Does student interest wane after two weeks or so? 

Are there ways to think strategically about read aloud time ... to incorporate instruction? 

What do we want students to know and be able to do as a result of a read aloud in this context? 

Graphic Novel Conversion

Welcome Colleen Dykema to Book Life! Colleen is an award-winning ESL teacher and reading specialist with Arlington Public Schools. Her teaching career began in 1972, and since 2000 she’s worked with English language learners at Swanson Middle School. A great believer that “reading is our personal reward — our private space to grow and explore,” Colleen had an “aha” moment this school year about reading graphic novels.

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"I used to walk to school with my nose buried in a book." — Coolio