Ten Reason Your Kids Should Participate in a Summer Reading Program

by Rebecca J. Gomez When my kids were young, summer reading programs were a sure thing. For the most part, my children were avid readers, especially my girls. A summer reading program wasn't necessary to encourage them to read, but we participated because it was a fun addition to summer. And the free pizza, books, and water park tickets definitely didn't hurt! There are lots of reasons to participate in a summer reading program or challenge, and here are ten of them: 1. Many summer reading programs offer prizes. And while we all know that reading is its own reward, some kids haven't figured that out yet. For those kids, a prize is just the incentive they need to stick their noses in a book now and then over the summer. 2. It's a fun way to reward those kids who will be reading no matter what! 3. For some families, trips to the library may help break up summer monotony.  4. Summer reading programs promote reading together as a family, especially for those with very young

Twelve Easy Art Projects to Pair with Your Favorite Books

Today we welcome picture book author and illustrator Patricia Keeler for a special Read, Discuss, Do! post featuring twelve ideas for extending story time with art! Patricia Keeler has written and/or illustrated over a dozen books including Scoop the Ice Cream Truck, Sky Pony Press 2018 (which was on this summer’s ice cream-themed book list),  Lizzie and Lou Seal, Sky Pony Press 2017, and Drumbeat in Our Feet, Lee and Low Books 2014. She received the Christopher Medal in 2011 for her illustrations in Would You Love Me If..., written by Wendy LaGuardia, sharing the spotlight with other recipients such as the writers of Toy Story and Laura Hillenbrand. Would You Love Me If... also won the New York Book Festival and the Best Overall Purple Dragonfly Award.

Now enjoy TWELVE EASY ART PROJECTS with Patricia Keeler!  Thank you, Patricia.


1. Draw a picture in the air with your finger from your book. An ice cream cone or a balloon works well. Have others guess your 'air' illustration.


2. Fill a straw with water. Draw an animal from your book on a piece of paper, using your thumb at the top of the straw to control the flow of the water. 


3. Breathe on glass to make fog, then send your main character a disappearing drawing.


4. Draw a picture of where the main character in the book lives. Expand it to add special elements like a vegetable garden or a pool.


5. Trace your character from the book. Add clothes for your character to go on a hike. Draw what supplies he/she would need.


6. Pretend that after you've gone to bed, the character from your book leaves the pages and goes out to meet a friendly animal in the night. Draw a picture of that animal.


7. Introduce yourself to the main character in your book. Draw yourself, your pet and your favorite toy. Put the drawing between pages of your book. Leave the book under your bed that night.


8. Create a graphic novel page. Pick one page spread from the book. On a piece of paper draw three boxes. In the first box, draw what happened 10 minutes before that page spread. In the second box, draw the page spread. In the third box, draw what happens 10 minutes after the page.


9. Your main character is coming for a visit. Draw the horse, train, airplane, car or boat he/she is using for transportation.


10. Your main character needs a pet. Is it a big dog or a little dog? Does your character live in a small apartment, and maybe prefer a cat? 


11.  Reimagine the story in your book taking place underwater. Your main character is a mermaid or merman. They have their cat or dog with them--a mercat or a merdog.


12. Make a map. Include all the places your character went. This may be the park, school, a friend's house or a zoo. Draw your character on your map.

Learn more about Patricia here:

Instagram - @patricia.keeler.books
Twitter - @patriciakeelerbooks


Mindy Baker said…
Great ideas! Thank you so much!
Rebecca Gomez said…
Mercat or merdog. I love that!