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5 Ways to Approach Summer Reading

The writing community is full of friendly and generous groups of people. I love meeting and learning from fellow writers. Anitra and I met a conference in Kansas City and became instant friends. (photo: I am seated in the light pink shirt, Anitra is standing behind me in the red shirt.)

I am excited to share her tips on summer reading. Thank you Anitra for for being a guest blogger!

School’s out for summer, and families looking for fun and enrichment to fill their days need look no further than their local library.

Perhaps your kids have a long list of books they have wanted to check out, if only they had more time.

But if that’s not the case, how can you step in and help guide them to titles that ignite their love of recreational reading and also keep the fire burning all summer long?

5 Ways to Approach Summer Reading

1. Themes & Topics

One way to get your kids excited about summer reading is by following their natural curiosities and passions. Be it dinosaurs, spiders or classical instruments, hand your child a fiction or non-fiction book on the topic and watch them light up, as their knowledge and expertise deepen. My girls have developed an obsession with watermelon in the past few weeks, so we have had fun reading – and crafting – about The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli.

2. All-star Authors

How many fantastic authors are there out there? Too many to count. So don’t count them, READ them. Start somewhere. Anywhere. Just pick an author and grab all of their titles in the stacks. We recently pulled all of our library’s picture books by kidlit master William Steig (creator of the character Shrek). What a treat!

3. Librarian Favorites

If you want a great kidlit recommendation, you don’t have to do too much hunting. Just ask a librarian. They have seen, read and restacked more books in that room (or rooms) than anyone else, and I’m guessing they have a few favorites. I’ve taken to asking librarians for their top selects, and it has been such a fun adventure. While a big fan of the The Napping House I had never heard of Heckedy Peg (written by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood) until librarian Rita Meade recommended it to me. The girls loooooooved this creepy little gem.

4. Brand New Titles

The “New Picture Book” bins in our local library are refreshed frequently, and it is the first place that we stop when we enter the children’s section. We recently picked up a book that introduced us to a whole new world in the most thoughtful story and vivid illustrations: The Sound of Silence (written by Katrina Goldsaito, illustrated by Julia Kuo). This new book welcomed my girls into the culture of Tokyo in a beautiful, memorable way. Here they are curling up with our borrowed copy.

5. Random Selections

The most fun, though, is watching your kids explore the library and build their own mash-up stack. Counting-meets-Bunnies-meets-ABCs-meets-Trucks… You get the idea. Sitting back and observing as my girls follow their heart and intuition around the library is the epitome of happiness for this mom, who happens to write children’s books. After we check out our bounty, we love taking our books on picnics.

Whatever approach to summer reading you and your children choose, HAVE A BLAST! This is fun reading time… Grow while smiling reading time... Get lost and find yourself reading time…

There are no rules – just ideas to get the ball rolling. Hope these suggestions help you jump-start your family’s journey!

Picture book writer Anitra Rowe Schulte is represented by Metamorphosis Literary Agency. She is member of SCBWI Illinois and Chicagoland critique group West PBCG. The mother of a child with a rare chromosome disorder, Anitra leads a web community for Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome families and facilitates a faith-based support group for moms of children with special needs. She lives in suburban Chicago, Ill., with her husband and their three daughters.

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