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Connected: Digital Literacy for Gen Z

Dr. Julie Wood

Julie M. Wood, a former public school teacher and reading specialist, is a nationally recognized educational consultant with a special interest in digital learning tools. Join Julie in 2012 as she shares best practices in using educational technology and media in the classroom and at home.

Summer reading: who doesn't love it?

June 1, 2012

We love summer reading. That wonderful feeling that comes with kicking back with a book we've been yearning to read all year. Thick books like Wolf Hall, by Hillary Mantel that transport you back to 16th century England. True stories like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. These are just of two books stacked up near my imaginary hammock.

Do the children you know love to read over the summer? Or is it a struggle to get them interested in books once the school year is over? And if the latter, how can we get children reading every single day — with big smiles on their faces?

Did you know that children who read just six books over summer vacation have a good shot at avoiding "summer reading loss." Just six! Less than one book per week! Rather than backsliding, daily reading helps children flex their reading muscles over the summer months, solidifying the gains they've made all year.

Bookmobiles and story hours
Take advantage of all the resources your community has to offer so you always have plenty of books around the house and opportunities to share stories with others. If you prefer to read books aloud in a language other than English, go for it!

Books that glow in the dark
One great feature of digital books is that they're so portable. Encourage your child to choose a few eBooks that he will especially enjoy. If you have an iPad, you might download storybook apps such as "Another Monster at the End of This Book" for the Sesame Street crowd ($3.99) or "Fox in Socks" by Dr. Seuss ($3.99). Older children might enjoy "Meanwhile," a choose-your-own-adventure graphic novel by Jason Shiga ($4.99).

Take a listen
Is listening to books read aloud also valuable for kids? Yes, absolutely. Children get to experience a wealth of books, read to them by storytellers or the authors themselves, digitally. Storynory features one new book per week that children can enjoy via multiple formats, including an iPod. The classics (nursery rhymes and fairy tales) might be a good jumping off point. Also check out Tales2Go a subscription-based trove of 1,700 audio stories (plus several nonfiction titles). Why not take several audio books along with you on vacation?

What books are YOU looking forward to reading this summer? What books are you planning to read to your children or send home with your students? What's you're strategy for keeping kids excited about reading? Let's hear from you!

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"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." — Walt Disney