Summer Reading 2021

Reading can be one of the many fun activities children choose to fill their summer time. And research has shown it is also much more!

Children who participate in public library summer reading programs make achievement leaps during the summer.

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)  reading lists below are created by children’s librarians as a resource to share with patrons, and may also be available in ebook, audio book, braille, and large print formats. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to explore this list to find resources that may match or spark their child’s interest. Connect with your local library to find out what’s happening this summer.

The 2021 Summer Reading Book List was created by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). Titles on this list were selected by members of ALSC’s Quicklists Consulting Committee. For more booklists, please visit www.ala.org/alsc/booklists.

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. From creative programming and best practices to continuing education and professional connections—ALSC members are innovators in the field of children’s library service.

April is National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture. Click here to learn more.

Curious? Check out 30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month with your kids!

  1. Sign-up for Poem-a-Day and read a poem each morning.

  2. Download a free National Poetry Month poster and display it for the occasion.

  3. Read 2020’s most-read poem, Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Kindness.”

  4. Record yourself reading a poem, and share why you chose that work online using the hashtag #ShelterinPoems. Be sure to tag @poetsorg on twitter and instagram!

  5. Subscribe to the Poem-a-Day podcast.

  6. Check out an e-book of poetry from your local library.

  7. Begin your virtual meetings or classes by reading a poem.

  8. Talk to the teachers in your life about Teach This Poem.

  9. Learn more about poets and virtual poetry events nation-wide.

  10. Read about your state poet laureate.

  11. Browse Poems for Kids.

  12. Buy a book of poetry from your local bookstore or from Three Chairs Publishing.

  13. Make a poetry playlist.

  14. Browse the glossary of terms and try your hand at writing a formal poem.

  15. Create an online anthology of your favorite poems on Poets.org.

  16. Attend a poetry reading, open mic, or poetry slam via a video conferencing service.

  17. Sign up for an online poetry class or workshop.

  18. Donate books of poetry to little free libraries and mutual aid networks.

  19. Research and volunteer with poetry organizations in your area.

  20. Take a socially safe walk and write a poem outside.

  21. Start a virtual poetry reading group or potluck, inviting friends to share poems.

  22. Read and share poems about the environment in honor of Earth Day.

  23. Take on a socially safe guerrilla poetry project.

  24. Read essays about poetry like Edward Hirsch’s “How to Read a Poem,” Mary Ruefle’s “Poetry and the Moon,” Mark Doty’s “Tide of Voices: Why Poetry Matters Now,” and Muriel Rukeyser’s “The Life of Poetry.”

  25. Watch a movie, lecture, or video featuring a poet.

  26. Write an exquisite corpse or a renga with friends via email or text.

  27. Make a poetry chapbook.

  28. Make a poem to share on Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 29, 2020.

  29. Submit your poems to a literary magazine or poetry journal.

  30. Make a gift to support the Academy of American Poets free programs and publications and keep celebrating poetry year-round!

Goodreads Best Books of 2020

Earlier this month, Goodreads announced its Best Books of 2020. The Annual Goodreads Choice Awards is the only major book awards decided by readers, and here are their pics for the young readers in your life:

Best Picture Books
Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi

Best Middle Grade & Children’s
The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan

Best Young Adult Fiction
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction
The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

Best Graphic Novels & Comics
Heartstopper: Volume Three by Alice Oseman

Additional books were nominated in each category. Click here to see all of the results and get reading!

National Family Literacy Month

November is National Family Literacy Month! This month, get the whole family snuggled up on the couch and open up a good book. Studies show that reading aloud with mom or dad is the most important activity when it comes to preparing children to read on their own. And if you raise a good reader… pretty much anything is possible! Reading helps with vocabulary, writing skills, attention span, memory, and teaches us about other times and places.

Even if your child is just a baby, you should still sit down and read with them every once in a while. An infant can look at pictures and listen to your voice as you read stories to them — and believe it or not, studies show that that alone can have a profound effect on your child when it comes to learning later on in life. Grab a few books, gather the family, snuggle up, and let a book take you all to another place together.

If you are reading to toddlers or other young children, try to remember when you were young, and the way you liked listening to your parents or teachers read with excitement in their voice, and when they gave you enough time to look at the pictures as well as listening to the words.

Here are a few things you can do this month (and hopefully every month to follow) to participate in National Family Literacy Month.

  • Set aside a little time for reading every day, even if it’s only for 15 or so minutes.
  • Go through both old and new books, and set some of your favorites around the house.
  • Take a few trips to the library.
  • Read your child the book version of their favorite movie. If they can read on their own, encourage them to read it!
  • Start a book club with friends and family.
  • Participate in a book drive and donate old or used books you no longer need. This will help families in need read to their kids.

Content ©2020, National Day Calendar.

Is Your Child Ready to Read?

Is your child interested in learning the names of letters? Does he look through books and magazines on his own? Does he like to “write” with a pencil or pen? Does he listen attentively during story time? If the answer is yes, he may be ready to learn some of the basics of reading. If not, he’s like most preschoolers, and will take another year or two to develop the language skills, visual perception, and memory he needs to begin formal reading.

Although a few four-year-olds sincerely want to learn to read and will begin to recognize certain familiar words, there’s no need to push your child to do so. Even if you succeed in giving him this head start, he may not maintain it once school begins. Most early readers lose their advantage over other children during the second or third grade, when the other students acquire the same basic skills.

The crucial factor that determines whether a student will do well or poorly in school is not how aggressively he was pushed early on, but rather his own enthusiasm for learning. This passion cannot be forced on a child by teaching him to read at age four. To the contrary, many so-called early learning programs interfere with the child’s natural enthusiasm by forcing him to concentrate on tasks for which he’s not yet ready.

What’s the most successful approach to early learning? Let your child set his own pace and have fun at whatever he’s doing. Don’t drill him on letters, numbers, colors, shapes, or words. Instead, encourage his curiosity and tendencies to explore on his own. Read him books that he enjoys, but don’t push him to learn the words. Provide him with educational experiences, but make sure they’re also entertaining.

When your child is ready to learn letters and reading, there are plenty of valuable tools to help him—educational television programs, games, songs, and even some of the latest age-appropriate video games and DVDs. But don’t expect them to do the job alone. You need to be involved, too. If he’s watching an educational TV show, for example, sit with him and talk about the concepts and information being presented. If he’s playing with a computer program, do it with him so you can make sure it’s appropriate for his abilities. If the game is too frustrating for him, it may diminish some of his enthusiasm and defeat the whole purpose. Active learning in a warm, supportive environment is the key to success.


Source: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 (Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

 

How to Reinforce Your Child’s Learning

In addition to doing homework, your children should spend time reading not only with you, but also on their own. If a child finds pleasure in reading, it will be­come a lifelong habit.

Let Your Children See You Reading
If your children see you reading regularly, there is a good chance that they will follow your lead and sit down with a book themselves. Set aside some time to talk with them about what each of you is reading. If you have been regularly reading aloud to your children, by school age they’ll probably want to read aloud to you, too!

Talk About Your Day
Find time to talk with your children about your respective days—in­cluding what they did at school. Even on a night when you are particularly busy, you should still be able to find a time and place to talk. This gives your children a chance to re-teach you what they learned that day.

Encourage Art & Writing
It is great for children to write and/or draw without any ed­ucational purpose in mind other than to express themselves. For example, you can encourage your children to write original stories, cards, letters, and invitations to friends and relatives. Keep paper, pencils, crayons, markers, and tape in a convenient lo­cation so your children can sit down and use them easily. Research has shown that writing improves a child’s reading skills—and vice versa.

Plan One-on-One Time
Plan some activities that you can do with your child—such as an art project. Keep phone call interruptions and media use to a minimum during this special time. Make it a time you are spending with each other. Some children say they wish they could call their parents on the phone, because a phone call or mobile device always gets first priority. See Parents of Young Children: Put Down Your Smartphones.

Use Caution with “Educational” Apps
Even though tablets, computer games, and apps are advertised as “educational,” the truth is most of them have not been tested to show that children actually learn from them. They teach very basic skills, so don’t assume an “interactive” game will be a good learning experience. Children learn better through creative playtime—where their brain takes the lead, not the app or computer game.

More Suggestions for Parents

  • Put a map on the wall in your child’s bedroom and refer to it frequently. You might ask, “Where does Aunt Linda live?” or “Can you find the city where the President lives?” You can also use the map to talk about history, especially around a historical holiday.
  • Have a family calendar where you can teach your child to plan ahead and stay organized.
  • Take your children to your local library and get each of them a library card. Because they use the school li­brary frequently, most children almost instinctively feel at home when they go to the local library.
  • Find community activities that are pure fun. Despite their recre­ational nature, these activities can still be viewed as providing support for what is being taught in school. They will broaden your children’s experiences and give them something new to write about.
  • Try reinforcing your child’s health education at school by making healthy food choices when you shop. No mat­ter what is taught in the classroom and served in the school cafeteria, your children will be influenced more by watching your own food selections. Actively involving your children in the cooking process—reading recipes and measuring ingredients—can reinforce nutrition education.
  • Schedule some weekend or after-school activities that are appropriate for the entire family. Swimming, tennis, bicycle riding, and skiing are some of the sports that children can participate in for their entire lives—long after they have left school. Do not overlook walking as a perfect way for the family to enjoy physical activity together. Studies now show that the more children exercise, the better they focus!

Source: Council on Communications and Media (Copyright © 2016 American Academy of Pediatrics). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

National Family Literacy Month

Did you know the single greatest indicator of children’s success is the literacy level of their parents? Did you know that parental involvement in their child’s reading has been found to be the most important determinant of language and emergent literacy?

November 1st kicks off National Literacy Month. First designated in 1994, the event is meant to bring awareness to the importance of family literacy through the encouragement and education of both parents of and caregivers for children, and focuses on the powerful lifelong learning ripple effect they can ignite simply by participating in their children’s literacy practices.

Here is what research has demonstrated regarding that ripple effect:

  • Success in reading is a gateway to success in other academic areas.
  • The earlier parents get involved in a child’s literacy the better, and the longer lasting the effects. Parental literacy involvement continues to be a top predictor of achievement into the teen and adult years.
  • A day focused on literacy can promote literacy across an entire community.

Here are some innovative ideas for celebrating National Literacy Month:

  1. Get Older Siblings Reading to Their Younger Siblings. It’s great practice for big bro or big sis to explain big words or summarize the story, and it’s also an opportunity to demonstrate a love of reading to little bro or sis.
  2. Practice Reading “Popcorn” Style. Each family member can read a page or two and then “popcorn pass” to the family member of their choice.
  3. Take Turns choosing the book or the book reading location of the night.
  4. Plan Themed Reading Nights. Pitch a tent in the living room and “camp out” while you read, or build a “bear cave” fort and read books about bears. Let your imagination take your themes to the next level.
  5. Incorporate Fun Accessories. Make your own bookmarks or sand timers. Invest in kid-friendly reading lights.
  6. Involve Distant Family and Friends. Books can be read aloud over FaceTime or Skype. Record your child reading their favorite book and send the video to loved ones.
  7. Read and Watch. Choose a book that has been turned into a movie. Read the book first and then schedule a family movie night to see the book come to life on the screen.
  8. Schedule It. Reading should be an activity as important as our kids’ various practices, lessons and play dates. If it’s on the calendar, it will become a higher priority.
  9. Book Swap. Get other families involved in a periodic book swap where kids can lend and borrow books from friends in the neighborhood or other social circles.
  10. Dinner Talk. Books can be a topic of discussion at family dinner. Ask family members to share about the latest books they’ve enjoyed, or how the plot is twisting in their latest chapter book.

From “20 Ways to Celebrate National Family Literacy Day,” by Jessica Slusser. For more information, visit the Getting Smarter website.

Summer Reading Programs for All Ages

LOCAL LIBRARIES’ SUMMER READING PROGRAMS

Branford
Blackstone Memorial Library
A Universe of Stories

Willoughby Wallace Memorial Library
A Universe of Stories

Cheshire
Cheshire Public Library
Summer Adventure

East Haven
Hagman Memorial Library

Hamden
Hamden Public Library
A Universe of Stories

New Haven
New Haven Free Public Library
A Universe of Stories

North Haven
North Haven Memorial Library
“Laugh Out Loud Library!”

Wallingford
Wallingford Public Library
Summer Reading

A Guide to Reading With Your Child

Start talking, singing, and reading with your child from the beginning. He will learn that reading is a fun activity you share together.

  • Point to words as you read them, showing your child that the print carries the story.
  • Ask your child to name things she sees in the pictures. Talk about how the pictures relate to the story.
  • Reading doesn’t have to be a huge project. Even a 3 minute story every night before bedtime will help your child learn.

Discuss Healthy Active Living using The Very Hungry Caterpillar:

  • Teach your child that apples, pears, plums, strawberries, and oranges are all fruits. Ask him if he can name other fruits.
  • Talk to her about how fruits are good for the body.
  • Talk about how when the caterpillar overeats, he gets a stomachache— so it is important to stop eating when you feel full.
  • Talk about how some foods are “sometimes” foods—like cake and ice cream—and how it is not a good idea to eat them all the time.
  • After reading the page where the caterpillar eats the green leaf and feels better, talk to your child about how you too eat green leaves (lettuce, spinach, cabbage, etc.) and how it is good for your body.
  • Teach your child that is important to eat healthy foods, so he can grow up healthy and active like a butterfly.

Download a printable guide that contains healthy eating tips and a reader’s guide to using The Very Hungry Caterpillar to encourage conversations about healthy eating. Print it out and share it with family and friends.


The information contained on this web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.