Tool Available to Help Children Find Great Books to Read this Summer

The Mississippi Department of Education, through the Office of Elementary Education and Reading, would like to encourage parents to use the “Find a Book, Mississippi” search tool to support summer reading. It is a fun and easy way to build custom reading lists based on students’ interests and the reading Lexile measure.  “Find a Book, Mississippi” is a free tool for parents and students and includes access to certificates for reaching a summer reading goal! Download the Find a Book, Mississippi flyer...

Worried about kids and summer reading? Three Experts are here to help.

A few weeks ago, my 7-year-old son said to me matter-of-factly, “Mom, if you need me, I’ll just be in my closet.” I was thrilled. Because in his closet he has set up a little nest of sorts. A sleeping bag squished into a small space on the floor, two flashlights sitting on the shelf and, most exciting for me, a book or two tucked in there among his shoes. This is his hideaway reading spot, and since he’s a kid who is more interested in throwing a baseball in the front yard for hours than tucking in with a good story, it makes me think that perhaps this reading thing might catch on after all. That said, summer is here. And that little dark closet might be a tough sell for a boy who will be tempted by sprinklers and ballgames, swimming pools and bikes. Oh, I want summer to be filled with those things and more. But with school out of session, that means no silent reading in a classroom every day or book reports and library time built into the schedule. How do we encourage our kids to keep up with their reading over the summer when it’s not part of the curriculum? For some, that’s easy, and in fact they might have to be shooed out of the house and away from the books to get a little fresh air. But for others, it can be more of a challenge. Read on for a few tips and suggested reads from the people who get it: a children’s author, a middle school librarian and the book...

Our Opinion: Establish summer reading routine with young children; it could be life-changing

As the school year ends, parents and guardians can do their kids a big favor by insisting they not shelve away books for the summer. Encourage the elementary-age child in your life to read daily. Better yet, snuggle up and read with him or her. The same goes for preschool children – whose future success in the classroom and in life, many people believe, could hinge on early and frequent exposure to reading. “Science tells us that 90 percent of a person’s brain is developed by age 5,” Bill Jones, president of the United Way of Wyoming Valley, recently told a Times Leader reporter. “Reading to and with young children is the most effective way to increase their intellectual capacity, and its results affect their entire lives.” Youngsters who fail to master appropriate reading skills by the third grade tend to encounter problems over the long haul and in many cases land in the social-services safety net or in prison, according to early childhood education advocates. Here’s the logic behind that theory: Lacking an ability to read on par with their peers, children are more likely to fall behind academically and become more prone to ultimately drop out of high school. No diploma, no job. No job, few good options. For those and other reasons, not the least of which is family bonding, be a positive influence in your child’s or grandchild’s formative years. Make weekly trips with him or her to one of Luzerne County’s public libraries. At the Osterhout Free Library’s main branch in Wilkes-Barre, for instance, you’ll find the Pollock Children’s Wing packed with age-appropriate titles. Plus, the library routinely...

Why I read aloud with my teens

A few weeks ago, my son and I finished reading Stephen King’s “11/22/63: A Novel.” The unusual part is the fact my son will be 18 years old in less than a month. I also read with his sister, who is 14. I didn’t plan to read aloud with my kids for this long. It just happened. As a former adjunct English professor who tutors students with dyslexia, I am an ardent lover of literature. Our home is packed with magazines and novels for all interests and ages. But these days, having a parent who loves and promotes books is not always enough. Reading competes with busy sports schedules, homework, and the ever-powerful screens that dominate our kids’ lives. My kids have trouble saying no to the incessant flow of Netflix entertainment that draws them away from books. While they love a good story, they are not bookworms the way I was as a kid. Consequently, I discovered early that reading together encouraged an activity that my kids may have skipped altogether. It’s well known that reading aloud benefits infants, toddlers and emerging readers. Aside from introducing children to a love of literature and storytelling, reading exposes them to written language, which differs from the spoken word. Writing contains more description and typically adheres to more formal grammatical structures than speech. When you choose books that exceed your child’s independent reading level, you promote language acquisition, increase vocabulary, and improve comprehension. These benefits foster literacy in young people, but the pluses don’t diminish just because the kids grow up. Of course, once our kids become readers themselves, they can...