If you can read this coherently, then you have survived yet another school year! Congratulations!
It’s time to throw off the burdens of homework, projects, and the dreaded pick-up line. Maybe you have a ton of things planned this summer, or perhaps your only goal is to survive. Either way, one of the best things you can do to add adventure and expand your experiences is to live vicariously through stories!
If you can do one thing well this summer, read to your children. From your littles to your too-cool-for-school teenagers – everyone loves being read too.
Wait – What? Me….read to them? Why don’t they just read on their own?
Good question! For starters, recent research looked into the effect on a child’s brain while engaging with a story three different ways: animation, listening only, or listening and seeing. To no surprise, listening and seeing a story showed greater brain connectivity in all networks researched compared to screen-based animation. [source]
Even if you have older children who have long outgrown illustrated books, reading aloud to them can improve their metacognition.
Metacognition, simply put, is thinking about thinking. By asking open ending questions about what you read aloud you encourage:
• Synthesizing – how can they relate what they’re reading to what they know or have experienced.
• Questioning – is the content new information? Does it make them question what they know or understand?
• Inferring – as readers, how do we know a character is nice or mean? By inferring, a child compiles information about the story and concludes hypotheses about the story.
• Reflecting – readers reflect on the stories and what has happened. As a reader, they think about if they would have made a different choice or done the same?
• Predicting – what’s going to happen? This is especially fun in a suspenseful story.
We understand this sounds simple, but making space for this in your day will not be easy. It is, in fact, easier to hand over a tablet for 30 minutes than to sit down and read with your children. Be Brave! This summer can be the time you commit to doing it differently for their mental and emotional health.
Brave Parenting has compiled a list of books your family would love to listen to this summer. It has something for the littlest of your family to the oldest. (If some titles on the list are unfamiliar to you, check commonsensemedia.com to ensure you approve the stories.)
[The following list contains affiliate links where Brave Parenting receives a commission if you click-through and purchase.]
Circus Ship by Chris Van Dussen (or anything by this author because he writes fantastically fun stories)
The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco
Chanticleer and the Fox by Geoffery Chaucer adapted by Barbara Cooney
Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo (series)
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
The Hidden Scrolls by M.J. Thomas
100 Cupboards Book 1 by N.D. Wilson (suspenseful series)
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
The Green Ember by S.D. Smith (series)
The Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne (series)
The Time Warp Trio by Jon Scieszka (series)
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Peter Nimble by Johnathan Auxier
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
The Little Pilgrim’s Progress by Helen L. Taylor from Paul Bunyan’s classic Pilgrim’s Progress
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson (series)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
You can also download the PDF here.
Go have fun this summer!
Go places and see things through the eyes of stories. Create a dedicated time every day that is just for you and your kids – no media & no distractions, for them or you!