Summer Family Bookish Guide Review

Summer reading is a pretty popular term. Schools encourage young child to participate in reading contests, high school students usually have to read a book and complete an activity. However, many families are unsure how to structure summer reading at home because there are so many different options.

But, what if I told you there is an all inclusive guide available for families to use right away?

One of my amazing book friends, and my Usborne Books & More consultant, Lis Moriarty has created an absolutely incredible Summer Family Bookish Guide.

This guide can be followed exactly like it’s outlined, or parents can pick and choose which parts to use. The guide includes a table of contents to help direct users and is super user friendly.

One of my favorite pages is the Daily Summer Themes. This is a fabulous option for those who have kids home all summer long and want to provide some structure. Each day has a theme, such as Make it Monday, and includes a handful of ideas that can be done with the whole family. Some of the ideas includes: virtual field trips, trying a new recipe, and go on a scavenger hunt.

If you’re a planner, this guide has printable templates that can be filled out in as much detail as you like. You can literally plan your entire day and week in a manner of minutes. Post your schedules on the fridge so kids can see what’s coming up.

As a Reading Specialist, I get excited when I come across materials I can share with families that encourage kids to talk about what they’re reading. This fantastic guide includes so many conversation starters for parents to have with kids of all ages. Also, for those who love to read aloud, there are ideas for how to keep kids engaged during this precious reading time.

This guide puts a TON of emphasis on making reading fun! Summer Book Bingo provides some great opportunities to read different texts in some different ways and places. I really like the square to read with a flashlight.

Finally, this guide provides printouts to record books to read and books read. Book tracking forms helps provide kids with a visual to see how much they have really read over the summer months. It also includes so great book suggestion lists that literally has something for every kid.

For more information about this incredible summer guide click here.

Summer Reading Challenges

As a kid, one of my favorite aspects of summer vacation was all the reading time. Even better was when I had a goal I was trying to reach. My town had a Read-a-Thon for each grade in elementary school and I wanted to win a medal sooooo badly. Prizes were determined based on how many pages students read during the summer, so I took my reading extremely seriously. I never won my medal (although I can still tell you who did) but that incentive gave me an extra boost to read.

If you’re looking for ways to motivate kids to read, check out some of the ideas below.

Summer reading programs at your local/school library– I volunteer at my local library once a month, and it is covered with summer reading ideas for kids. There are workshops, activities, and a summer reading club. There are also story times, BYOB (bring your own book) events and mommy and me reading times.

Barnes and Nobles Book Challenge– Barnes and Nobles is holding a summer reading challenge for kids where they can earn a free book! Kids fill out a reading journal and once they have read 8 books they are eligible for a free book based on their grade. For more details, click here.

Scholastic Read-A-Palooza– This is a totally awesome challenge. According to Scholstic, “Over the course of 18 weeks, kids can enter their summer reading minutes online, unlocking digital rewards as they complete weekly reading challenges; and access book excerpts, videos, and other summer-exclusive content.” But wait, it gets even better!! When kids collectively reach certain reading minute milestones, Scholastic, in collaboration with United Way, will donate books to kids in need across the US!! To sign up to be part of this AMAZING challenge, click here.

Brightly Reading Challenge- I’m a Brightly fan (check out my ideas on using Mad Libs here). This year they have separate reading challenges for preschoolers- teens. I love that they give kids different reading ideas that are age appropriate. They also provide paths to additional reading lists. To see these ideas, click here.

 

Girls Like Me Book Review

The last few months have been a little crazy, but with summer here things have finally calmed down (well, kind of).

Last week I had a chance to read a new book, Girls Like Me by Lola StVil. I saw the book post on HMH Kids’ Instagram and thought I would give it a try. I’m so glad that I did!

Shay is an overweight 15 year old young lady. She is coping with the death of her father, trying to co-exist with a step mom, dealing with bullying by the Queen Bee (Kelly) at school, and working on making it to her 16th birthday. Like many teenage girls, Shay has a crush on the popular boy in school, Blake Harrison, but he doesn’t know she exists. Shay relies on her best friends, Boots (dying from a brain tumor) and Dash (the amazing gay sidekick) to deal with every day life.

Shay’s life completely changes when she starts talking to a boy from her high school online. Suddenly she is able to open up and be herself with Godot and begins to experience teenage love.

The structure of this text is very different from the traditional YA novels, it’s written in prose/poetry style! I will admit that there were a few parts that confused me because I couldn’t tell who was talking, but re-reading it once or twice cleared that up. Without the presence of paragraphs and dialogue, the reader is able to truly feel what Shay is writing. The first person narrative literally puts the reader in Shay’s head and feel her pain and confusion right along with her.

I was very similar to Shay as a teenager, and StVil’s writing was spot on. She was able to grasp the humor, drama, and fears of a 15 year old girl perfectly.

I’m currently teaching an Intro to Social Media class, and one of the topics we’ve discussed is how many teens’ lives revolve around technology and social media. This book is a clear example of this concept. Shay’s whole mood completely changes when she gets a message from Godot, and when they don’t message she is completely crushed. Shay’s enemy, Kelly, uses a website to bully Shay during the climax of the novel, further demonstrating how teenagers use cyberspace to live their lives.

Overall, this book is a fabulous quick read! I devoured it in about 2.5 hours in one sitting because I simply couldn’t put it down. I recommend this book for high school students because of the mature content and sexual references. I plan on suggesting this as a summer read for my high schoolers.