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

AND I THINK ABOUT YOU: An Interview PLUS Six Book-Themed Activities

AND I THINK ABOUT YOU: An Interview PLUS Six Book-Themed Activities

by Laura Sassi 

There’s a new picture book out just it time for fall and back-to-school. Written by Rosanne L. Kurstedt and illustrated by Ya-Ling Huang, AND I THINK ABOUT YOU poignantly captures the love and connection shared by a working mama bear and her cub who attends school at a day care. During the day, they are apart, but they are always thinking of each other. Told with the feel of a letter (or love song) from mama to child, it is just the kind of story I would have loved to snuggle up with with my own kids when they were little. Rosanne’s warm text pairs nicely with Ya-Ling’s dreamy watercolor illustrations.

Today I’m pleased to feature Rosanne in an interview followed by SIX book-themed activities.

First, the interview:

Laura: Thank you for joining me here today, Rosanne. What inspired the story?

Rosanne: The story was inspired by a bedtime ritual my older son and I developed.

Laura: I love how a simple bedtime ritual turning into a special bonding tradition. It makes me remember fondly some of the seemingly little things I did with my kids, that became rituals or traditions of their own kind – but none exactly like this. 

Laura: What are you most excited about with the release of this new book?

Rosanne: There are so many things I’m excited about – but what I’m most excited about is connecting with families—hearing them talk about the book and also learning about some of the rituals they’ve developed. 

Laura: Thanks again for joining me here today, Rosanne and congratulations on the book’s release. I am certain it will spark rich conversation, not only at your visits, but also afterwards, as parents and children use your delightful story as a spark to build their own special together-time traditions.

And now for SIX fun BOOK-THEMED activities inspired by AND I THINK ABOUT YOU:

1. Go on a Leaf Hunt. As you read the story together, make note of all the leaves illustrator Ya-Ling Huang has infused into her effervescent illustrations. Then go on a leaf walk, collecting as many different types as you can. After your walk, create lovely leaf rubbings like these using crayons and paper.

2. Do a Picture Read Through. After reading AND THINK ABOUT YOU aloud to your child, flip things around by having your child re-read it to you using the pictures as clues. Reading the pictures is a great pre-reading skill because it encourages interacting with the page. It’s also a wonderful way to foster storytelling and take to heart the message of the story that — together or apart — you and your little one share a love that’s strong and true. So, snuggle up and enjoy being “read” to.

3. Create a Parent/Child Picture Frame.  After reading the story, take out an album or open up the photos on your phone. Look for pictures of you and your child together - remembering special times you have enjoyed as parent and child.  Then pick one to frame or to draw and then frame.  Make the frame any way you would like. This one is created with four large craft sticks glued at the corners to make a rectangle, then embellished with stickers and crayon.  Add magnets to the back and you will have refrigerator art!

4. Play a Silly Sound Game. Author Rosanne L. Kurstedt had a lot of fun incorporating sound words into the story. As you read together, enjoy making the sounds in different funny ways.  Then make up your own sounds for common things you and your child are familiar with. Write these down on little cards. Then use them to play a variation of charades using sounds.

5. Enjoy a Book-themed Read. Discuss. Do!  See the wonderful directions below.

6. Make Pinwheels! In the story, the bear cub brings a pin wheel to school and it is shown in many of the illustrations.  As you read, see if you can find - and count - them all. Afterwards, enjoy making your own. Instructions can be found here:  https://susannahill.com/2022/09/09/perfect-picture-book-friday-and-i-think-about-you-plus-a-giveaway/



Mindy Baker said…
Awesome interview and activities! Thanks!