By Lori Singer
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I often tell my young students that we can go anywhere in a book! Initially, they look at me with great curiosity and shocking disbelief.
“Anywhere, Ms. Lori?”
“Yes, anywhere! Together we’ll take a trip around the world and explore the possibilities of where books can take you.”
I then ask each individual student to share where they might want to go or what they might want to be or are curious about; explaining how anything is possible with reading a book.
The room fills with expanding light and energy as each child grasps the awe of their own individual Eureka moments. It’s like I have given them the map to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Next, each student uses their unique voices to take us on a journey. Excitement and infinite ideas pop into their minds as the reading room fills with the students sense of wonder and possibility. The students feel a new sense of the power of books.
I continue to discuss the magic of books and how with books you can travel anywhere or be anything in a book. We discuss how with books you can learn anything, and how a book can be the perfect friend. If you are curious, there is a book to meet your wonder.
Yes, we can go anywhere!
The idea that reading can take you away to far away places is so important right now during COVID-19 pandemic, especially when kids have been at home for months and miss the attention of their teachers. They've been unable to go to a playground, see their friends, visit the beach, go to a library, and other far away places.
As a parent, you might worry and also feel a similar loss and loneliness because of social distancing. But not only can reading a book take away those worries, it can also bring infinite possibilities into your home.
For those parents who worry, reading out loud with guidance for 15-20 minutes a day with your child can really help. It helps them from falling behind and keeps their minds active and learning. It also helps them keep pace with their reading retention during the summer.
So you might ask what can I do as a parent or guardian to help my child?
The good news is that summer reading does not have to be canceled.
In fact, with a little imagination and little resources your family can experience the joys of where reading can take you. If you have an interest. there’s a book for that. This is where magic can happen with the help of reading books.
Have no fear… “Ms. Lori” has her wand and cape along with her alligator bag full of suggestions.
According to the U.S. Department of Education Here are 7 tips to support parents and keep students reading during this time of social distancing:
1. Create a fun reading space
Set up a tent in the yard under a shady tree or create an indoor reading fort. Add comfy pillows, bean bags and blankets along with a basket of books to make a fun, relaxing spot for reading. The possibilities are as endless as the imagination.
2. Make a reading routine
Set aside a specific time each day to dedicate to reading. It doesn’t need to be long. By making it a priority, you relay the message that reading is important. Make time to read together in addition to creating time for children to read on their own. A nighttime reading routine can help children associate reading with relaxing. Children are easily filled up and will quickly adapt to new routines if we provide the time.
3. Be a role model
Get caught reading! Children are known to model the actions of adults they love. When they see you enjoying a good book, they will follow your lead. Also, be a role model by reading aloud to your child no matter their age.
4. Ensure reading materials are readily available
Make books easily accessible in the most used rooms of your home and carry them with you everywhere. Keep selections in your car. It’s also helpful to carry a bag of books for doctor visits, shopping trips, and long waits.
5. Make reading an adventure
Visit online libraries, bookstores, and take walks in your neighborhood and take it as an opportunity to explore things to research or with emergent readers read signs.
Take your child to a virtual library or bookstore. Picking out a book can be just as much fun as reading one. Sign up for an online library card and take advantage of summer reading programs at your local public library. Feeling extra adventurous? Try a reading-inspired field trip! For example, if you read a book about trees, plan a visit to a trip to the park or forest to learn more about them. Or, if you read a book about flowers, visit a local botanical garden.
6. Encourage choice
Reading should be a choice not a chore. Allowing your child to choose the books they read gives them a sense of control. Graphic novels, magazines, nonfiction and newspapers should also be options in reading for pleasure. Allowing choice in reading materials goes a long way in raising lifelong readers.
7. Introduce your child to a book series
A book series can help keep reading interest high by keeping the “what happens next?” factor engaged. Series also address the problem of stalling between books because it eliminates the problem of figuring out what to read next!
Remember, the secret to preventing summer slide is to keep learning all summer! Have fun! Make it about exploration and wanderings of the mind.
All children and people around the world love stories and exploring.
So grab your favorite book to share with your child and find the canopy of a lush shady tree and enjoy the possibilities of travel in your mind via reading with your child.
Greatness comes from the simple moments sharing while you build the bright young minds of the future. Enjoy the curiosity and the growing imagination of our future. While endless things are limited and on hold the beauty and magic of our minds is not canceled.
As the world outlook looks bleak, remember along with books we parents have magical powers to influence a world of peace and change one child or one book at a time. In our own households, we have the power to help ignite the curiosity by modeling something as simple as the power of reading. Allow each child to be a beginner and learn patience as they grow and reach book by book.
Giving children permission to open up and explore reading for pure pleasure and interest often has the new readers pulling books off the shelves of the reading room that they’d never imagine. The most powerful thing we can do for a child's future is to teach them to read. Reading opens infinite possibilities. So this summer, take the time to slowly build bridges that will reach far into the future for our precious little people of all ages and by opening their minds to the world of literature one step at a time it is like opening the door to the entire world.
College and Beyond!
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* Lori Singer is a Bay Area Reading Resource Teacher and Private multisensory Tutor. She is trained in the Slinger Approach for Dyslexia, Making Math Real, Art for self-esteem. Ms. Singer believes in the Whole Child Education and has a love of painting and gardening, which she often incorporates into her practice.
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