Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How to keep young kids reading during the school year

It's worth noting as the school year gets into the fall holidays that kids can lose a lot of schoolroom smarts during the next few months. Here in a recent post on Reading Rockets, children's literature expert Maria Salvadore brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

There are many activities that enhance reading and will slow or stop that slide — talking, singing, reading aloud, keeping a journal or photo album, and lots more.

One thing that our family still does is cook together. And lots of cooking can start with a story book that involves food and more.

Cook-a-doodle-doo (Sandpiper) by Janet Stevens and her sister is a very funny take-off on the traditional story of the industrious Little Red Hen. Just like his grandmother, the rooster asks for but actually gets help. Together the friends find a recipe for and make delicious strawberry shortcake. (I've tried the recipe and it is quite good!) Along the way, they also learn a few things about following the special language of cooking and recipes.

Another enjoyable story book that includes a tasty cooking activity is Honey Cookies (Francis Lincoln) by Meredith Hooper. A grandmother almost poetically describes the ingredients she and her grandchild need to make this sweet treat. (She's actually telling Ben where each originates.) A recipe for the cookies is included in this book, too (though if you try this one, add a little more butter than called for; makes them moister.)

A classic activity is planting a garden — even better when you're Growing Vegetable Soup (Voyager). Vegetables, seeds, and garden tools are all presented in Lois Ehlert's colorful illustrations that present a handsome garden. A recipe for vegetable soup is also included. (I've never tried this one, but it looks pretty standard.)

Do you and the children in your life have a book and favorite activity that can stop the reading slide? If so, take a minute to share it with us at Reading Rockets!

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