Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer Time should not mean Brain Freeze

It is warm outside and you are eating cold treats, but don't let your brain freeze! I don't mean the kind of freeze that you get when you eat that ice cream cone too quickly. I mean the kind of brain freeze that occurs when you are not actively learning over the summer and rapidly loose knowledge and skills that you had gained over the past school year. So I wanted to give you some suggested reading and websites to keep your mind sharp and in shape over the summer! Here are some great suggestions from Reading Rocket:

- Build reading and writing into everyday activities. Some ideas to pass along: (1) watching TV with the sound off and closed captioning on, (2) reading directions for how to play a new game, or (3) helping with meals by writing up a grocery list, finding things in the grocery store, and reading the recipe aloud for mom or dad during cooking time. More ideas at PBS Parents (in Spanish, too) and ReadWriteThink.

- Encourage writing. Recycle school notebooks and paper into summer journals or scrapbooks. And check out the pen pal project at Schwab Learning.

- Be an active citizen. Check out resources from ZOOM can help them get the most out of helping others this summer.

- Watch a garden grow and build research, reading, and writing skills with this summer project from ReadWriteThink.

- Make cool things with your Dad. Dad Can Do is a wonderful site full of crafty ideas that bring fathers and kids together. Make a wizard's wand, paper planes, spaceships, ex libris, and quirky things like an origami cowboy shirt (think Woody from "Toy Story") — mostly from inexpensive or recycled materials.

- Looking for more than just a movie? The Kids Off the Couch website pairs a recommended kids movie with similar family adventures within your community. You'll find helpful information about the movie, conversation starters, and bits of wisdom about planning a successful family outing.

- Check out the free summer reading incentive programs sponsored by publishers and booksellers. The Borders Double-Dog Dare program gives away a free book if you read 10 books. The Barnes and Noble Passport to Reading program also includes a free book incentive. The Scholastic Summer Challenge goes global this year, with a Read for the World Record challenge, a large online community for kids. Look for WordGirl, the national "Ambassador of Summer Reading," to make appearances at reading events across the country.

- Try starting a neighborhood book club with other kids this summer. Warmer weather can inspire some not-so-run-of-the-mill meeting places, too: a tent or picnic blanket in the backyard. If the book club catches on, it's something to continue throughout the school year. PBS Parents has a wonderful collection of tips on how to start a club and encourage great discussions.

- Read real world books. Check out Interesting Nonfiction for Kids (I.N.K.) for nonfiction presented in new and engaging ways. Also check out the Orbis Pictus Award winners!

- Here are good interactive educational websites that you can explore with your parents. Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) has an excellent bilingual site called Let's Read as a Family designed to help Latino families read, sing, and share stories together at home. There are lots of other quality websites for kids. Here are a few more of our favorites:
National Geographic Kids: offers great nature videos, activities, games, stories, and more
CoolMath4Kids: take a trip through an amusement park of math and more at this extremely interactive math website
Smithsonian Kids Collecting: how to start your own collection and see what other kids collect
Explore Dinosaurs: FAQs and top 10 myths about dinosaurs, a virtual dig, behind the scenes tours, and more from the National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Digging for Answers: a site that tests your research skills and knowledge
NASA Quest: interactive explorations that engage students in real science and engineering. Topics include robots, helicopters, lunar exploration, and designing your own human-friendly planet
My Wonderful World: a multimedia tour of our seven continents
Time for Kids: fun games (The Great State Race), an online weekly magazine written for kids, and news from around the world

- Read stories from around the world. Let them know about the International Children's Digital Library, an amazing (and growing!) collection of international children's books available to read online in their original languages. Big Universe is another online library of fiction and nonfiction books for kids 0-12. The site also offers adults and kids the chance to create and publish their own stories.

- Use books as a springboard for conversation, creativity, and acquring new background knowledge by sharing the Reading Rockets Family Literacy Bags with your parents. These themed packs combine fiction and nonfiction books with simple, hands-on activities that you can do with your parents.

- Find good summer reads that match your interests. You might start with the 2010 Big Summer Read booklist from Reading Rockets.

- You may enjoy doing worksheets or puzzle books and word scrambles. Teacher Planet offers loads of links to summer-themed printable activity sheets. And HarperCollins Children's Books has literature quizzes, games, and printables in their Games & Contests section.

No comments:

Post a Comment