Tuesday, May 29, 2012

SFC May Educational Tip by Alice Knisley Matthias

Summer is just about here, so it’s time to think about books for leisure reading for the children when they are on vacation. I always love when I go back to a book, from a summer read, and a few grains of sand fall out as I open it again. It takes me right back to the chair I was sitting in on the beach, with the breezes blowing off the water, when I last looked at the pages.
Reading a book for a second, or third time, is a concept many children do not grasp. In their world something needs to be done, you do it, and cross it off your list. Children don’t fully comprehend, at their age, that reading is an experience. You can read a book. Now, think about making a cup of hot chocolate, getting under a fuzzy blanket, with your socks on, and cracking the binding of a great book on a cold, blustery day. The reading of the book is the activity but the environment is the experience.
Sometimes, when we read something again we see or feel something we did not notice the first time. The character’s mood in the text of a book, or a phrase that makes you laugh just as loud, all over again.
Recently, my children were in the back seat of the car as my kindergarten son was reading a book from his book baggy. A book baggy is what the kindergarten teachers use to supply each student with a group of books that are aligned to the student’s current reading level. A title caught the attention of my fourth grade son. “Oooh, I remember this book,” my older son said. He took the book out of the bag as his brother was engrossed in another book choice from the baggy. And then there was silence. The two of them were reading and there was no question of the material chosen. I watched in the rear view mirror as the fourth grader revisited the pages of a book he had fond memories of and had not seen in some time. He turned the pages, took in the text and illustrations, and occasionally cracked a smile or chuckled. He wasn’t just rereading the book, but experiencing it again. He could relate what he thought about the book, when he read it in kindergarten, and how he recognized some aspects, and perhaps looked at it differently, in many ways now.
When choosing titles for the summer reading list don’t forget that revisiting a story can be a rewarding experience.


  1. Absolutely. My 4th grader is rediscovering books now that her little brother is picking them up. This time around, she can read them more easily and quickly, and gets even more out of the story.



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