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

Celebrate Poetry with a Poem in Your Pocket

by Trine Grillo

Poem in Your Pocket Day is coming up on April 29. Poem in Your Pocket Day is a day when people celebrate poetry by choosing a poem to carry with them to share with people throughout the day. You can keep the poem in your actual pocket and share it with people you meet. Or you can share it on social media (with the hashtag #PocketPoem), email it to someone, read it aloud over the phone, or share it any other way you like.

Here's an idea for a poetry book to read for inspiration:

A Child's Calendar by John Updike follows a family through a year and reminds us in 12 little poems what we love about seasons. The illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman show the family busy together in activities for each month. First published in 1965, this republication was nominated for the Caldecott Medal in 2000 and is one of the first award-winning books to feature an interracial family.

Discuss the book as you read. Here are some suggested discussion topics:

  • What is your favorite season? Why?
  • How are the seasons the same or different where you live?
  • Do you have a favorite poem from the book?
  • If you were to choose one person to share this book with, who would that be?

Do: For Poem in Your Pocket Day, choose a poem from the book to share. Or write your own! You can write a poem about a month of the year or look back at our posts about haiku or concrete poetry for ideas. Or try something different. How about an ACROSTIC poem about YOU? Here's how you write an acrostic name poem:

1. Create a list of your favorite things about spring. It could include things like bike rides, mud puddles, blossoms, worms...

2. Write your name vertically on your paper. Be sure to capitalize each letter of your name.

3. Start each line of your poem with the capital letters you wrote.

4. Each line will tell one of your favorite things about spring. Here's an example using the name Owen:

O    Orange soda

W    Worms

E    Easter    

N    Night walks

Once you are happy with your poem, tuck it into your pocket to share with someone on Poem in Your Pocket Day! And we'd love it if you come back and share it with us in the comments too!