School is out for the summer, but don't shelve the books. Summer reading pays off for parents and kids alike because there is a direct correlation between how much reading children do during the summer and their academic success in the following school year. So while the kids are putting down their textbooks, try to get them to pickup something else to read.
My local libraries offer summer reading programs that are full of ideas to motivate young readers. I can also enlist my computer for additional support and inspiration.
I start with The Children's Literature Web guide at www.acs.ucalgary.ca/dkbrown/index.html.
Here I have found lists of Children's Book Award winners, children's best-sellers and specific resources for parents. A Webtraveller's Toolkit will link you to the best children's literature sites. Forums and bulletin boards let you post questions about kids and reading. I also use the Tacoma Public Library's Just for Kids page at www.tpl.lib.wa.us for endless links to reading related activities.
Book reviews can be very helpful when you don't know what to suggest next. Check www.amazon.com for reviews of books for children and young readers.
I also encourage children to further research their favorite authors. They may discover additional titles to read, and interesting facts about a writer. Kids could even be inspired to do some of their own writing.
Fans of the Baby-sitters Club will want to visit www.schol-astic.com/babysittersclub. Here girls can meet the BSC members, play games, share adventures and even become official members of the Baby-sitters Fan Club.
Goosebumps readers will want to see www.scholastic.com/goosebumps where they can check out the latest clips from the Goosebumps show and software. Information on R.L. Stine and dates of appearances are also available here.
If your reader is more attuned to the rodent world around Redwall Abbey, be sure to visit The Official Brian Jacques Homepage at www.redwall.org. Visitors can read "Ten Good Yarns," find out how Jacques gets his ideas, and join the Redwall Readers Club. Enthusiasts can even download a sound wave file to hear Brian Jacques introduce The Long Patrol, the newest addition to the Redwall series.
Younger readers and pre-readers will want to visit their Dr. Seuss friends at www.randomhouse.com/seussville. Children can chat with the Cat in the Hat, interact with Horton and the Whos, and enter to win prizes.
Younger kids will also like The Official Eric Carle Web Site at www.eric-carle.com. Learn about the history of The Hungry Caterpillar, see what's new from Eric Carle and send an e-mail directly to the author.
It is not unusual for young readers to also want to write. Encourage their writing interest by visiting The Reading Rainbow site at www.pbs.org/readingrainbow. The Reading Rainbow group sponsors a young writers contest. Kids as young as kindergarten age can enter. You can read last year's winning stories and enter one of your own.
My family will be surfing the Oz sites this summer. Most folks know the Wizard, Dorothy and Toto, but many haven't met Ozma, PumpkinHead, Tip, or the Rainbow Fairies. Visit the Oz site and you will learn that Oz books number in the dozens.
Join The International Wizard of Oz Club and receive a regular newsletter full of Oz observations, barter Oz paraphernalia (known as Ozania) and keep up on Oz happenings. Aspiring munchkins can find out more about Oz at www.ozclub.org/iwoc.
Send e-mail to bonniultimediamom.org or surf to www.multimediamom.org.
Pub Date: 6/22/98