Dear Blue School Families,
This week's post is from Patricia Lynch, Director of the Primary Program
There is nothing more luxurious than summertime reading. When we indulge ourselves in summer reading, there seems to be no calendar or clock that nudges us toward distraction; we have reached a serenity seldom found. The more deeply we become immersed in a book, the more reflective our lives become. Our connection is with the words, ideas, images that eventually enliven the thinking we bring to life.
These beliefs are brought to life in Blue School when I walk into a classroom and a child is laughing out loud about something she has read. When I listen in on the provocative conversations about a story read in a class, when I hear children outraged or mystified because of a character’s behavior, and even empathically near tears. These instances are certain proof that stories and narratives bring about vital emotional connections for everyone. Reading is not solely an academic pursuit, but more importantly, an activity that helps us define our identity, and gives us the strength and understanding to face daily challenges. Afterall, if Alexander can live through a horrible, no good day, so can we.
When parents ask me how they can help their child with reading, my advice is always the same. Read to your child. No matter what the age. Read newspaper articles, food ingredients, great novels you enjoyed as a child and historical accounts. Research has shown that children who are read to fare far better in the long run with reading comprehension and critical thinking. So it’s certainly worth the enjoyment.
The former has all been a bit of a drum roll to announce the Primary Division Summer Read and Reading List. Through perusal of many, many outstanding picture books, the faculty and I have decided upon a summer read. This summer we are asking that all children entering Kindergarten through 5th grade read, Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie. Please make sure that your child reads the book over the summer because s/he will be given an activity based on the book within the first days of school. This book, and all the books on the connected summer reading list can be purchased through Amazon. You may also want to use the summer as an opportunity to reconnect with your local public library. Libraries are magical places with lots of free programs in the summer.
And finally, a bit about fostering writing over the summer. Why not keep journals together, especially when you visit new or exciting places here or elsewhere? Sketch tiny findings, add some words to describe the drawing, and voila, you’ve got a pithy poem. Make lists together, develop characters based on people you see in the subway and on the streets and write monologues for them. Letters, letters, lots of letters written. Grandparents or other family friends always love to get emails and snail mail from favorite children.
I can’t wait to hear about all your reading experiences. Keep a list of favorites. Enjoy your children and have an adventurous and peaceful summer.
“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”