Beat Boredom with Books! 4 Summer Book Club Ideas
It’s summertime, and most parents are worried their child will trade textbooks for texting and chapter books for channel surfing. Fortunately, with a little foresight you can help kids of any age dodge the summer doldrums and bridge the gap between school years by forming a summer book club.
Prologue: Planning the Perfect Page Turner
Before your book group can meet, you’ll need to make some preliminary decisions. Four of the more important considerations are:
When? Summertime may give you more options since you’re not competing with school anymore, but you’ll need to schedule around summer sports for big kids or afternoon naps for little ones.
Where? Whether it’s beanbag chairs, blankets and pillows, or maybe the grass at a local park, find a space that fits your group. Kids have just spent nine months cloistered behind desks, so try to find a setting that invites conversation and closeness.
How? Even before your first official meeting, consider how you want the book group to run, and to what extent parents need to or should help facilitate it. Set down some guidelines before you meet, especially for younger participants.
Why? What do you want to get out of the book club experience? What do your kids want to get out of it? Is there a way to merge the two philosophies? While Mom and Dad may be grateful for the summer reading skill brush-up or some buddy-buddy time with their kids, kids might just be grateful for a little reading time that’s unconnected to grades or standardized tests.
Chapter 1: “D” is for Daddy – ABC books for Preschoolers
The contributions that positive male role models can make in a child’s life are infinite, so don’t dismiss dads when it comes to summer reading. To that end, Texas AgriLife Extension Service’s FRED program (Fathers Reading Every Day) “aims to increase father involvement in children's literacy development” by encouraging daily reading. So often we associate the formative years with the basics—ABC’s, for example—but it’s also a critical time for father-child relationships. An alphabet-themed father-child group is the perfect blend of academic, social and emotional nurturing for pre-readers ages 2-5.
What to read: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, A is for Angry: An Animal and Adjective Alphabet (Sandra Boynton, Workman Publishing Group), Eating the Alphabet (Lois Ehlert, Red Wagon Books), I Stink (Kate McMullan, Harper Collins), Superhero ABC (Rob McLeod, Harper Collins)
For more themed fun: The key to this age group is variety. Break up the books with ABC-themed snacks (apple juice, bananas and carrots, for example) and end every meeting with an alphabet game. Have kids sit in a circle and play “A my name is Alice” using their own names: “T, my name is Tommy, and I like tomatoes!” Kids can pat their legs and clap their hands to add some rhythm: concept reinforcement and instant fun!