Paramus—“I like Ivy and Bean because they were never meant to be friends but they ended up being friends. But if you read Ivy and Bean Book 1 you might understand what I mean I just want you to know that you should make friends with everyone no matter what they look like you should be friends with them.”—comment posted on Mrs. Stock’s Summer Reading Blog by a first grader.
This summer, Yeshivat Noam’s assistant principal, Mrs. Linda Stock, decided to try something new to excite students in grades one through five to read over the summer. “I don’t believe in making mandatory summer reading lists…mandatory is a turnoff. I want kids to read because they love to read.” In the past, Yeshivat Noam gave out bookmarks to encourage summer reading and postcards which students filled out with the details of the books they read and mailed them to Mrs. Stock.
“This summer, we decided to integrate technology and give students a chance to exchange comments with each other.” The Summer Reading blog is hosted by www.kidblog.com, which is a safe way to carry out the effort. Students’ comments are anonymous—only identified by their grade, and all comments go through Mrs. Stock before being posted live—the students posting responses to Mrs. Stock’s questions and to each other’s posts.
The Summer Reading Blog has been so successful, with over 300 comments posted, that the school is hoping to expand the effort in the coming year with individual class kid blogs about books and possibly a cooperative blog effort with a school in another part of the country.
“Hi! This is an awesome website; I’m going to blog a lot! I think you guys should read the Fox Trot series because it’s really funny also there is tons of different stories in the books.”—comment posted on Mrs. Stock’s Summer Reading Blog.
According to Mrs. Stock, it is less important what kids read but rather that they read. She encourages parents to let children choose their own books and advises that kids are more excited about reading when they choose what they read. Aside from trips to the library or your local bookstore, there are two excellent websites you can browse with your child to help find books he or she might want to read: www.scholastic.com/bookwizard and www.booksource.com.
Ultimately, reading is the pathway to all learning and each book a child reads is another stepping stone to becoming a lifelong learner.
By Sara Prager