Tag Archives: summer reads

Sunday Morning Shout Out


Happy Summer!  As summer starts, my children and I are looking forward to an incredible adventure.  This adventure is courtesy of some great reads at our local library.  The New York State Summer Reading Program, “Every Hero Has a Story” is underway. Truly a fantastic theme, both the Erie County library system and the Nioga County Library System, which encompasses Niagara, Orleans, and Genesee Counties, are all offering a myriad of special events this summer.  This is in addition to their fine collection of books, blockbuster DVD’s, periodicals, lectures, and story hours that are offered.  Each of these sites will give you a further breakdown of what is happening at individual locations, within the system

But what do you look for when you are there?  I do believe it is important to allow a young person to get out books of their personal persuasion (of course within reason) – But what about the reluctant reader?  Fortunately there are some great on line sites that suggest some pretty wonderful reads for young people.  The “Huffington Post” article, “32 Enthralling Summer Reading Books for Kids of All Ages,” has some wonderful and unique finds for the most hesitant or uncertain young person.  The website about.com lists their top books for young people for this summer in an article titled “2015 Reading Lists for Kids and Teens“.  From individual picks to great series oriented books, there are some wonderful choices for young people here, too.

Summer is fleeting, but just the right time to embark on an adventure.  The sky is the limit when it comes to literary ones…..

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Encouraging The Reluctant Reader


If your child is reticent to read, there are ways to make reading a fun and rewarding experience that can introduce them to a wonderful new world.  Reading carries so many benefits that make it a skill that every child should hone.  When your child is an effective reader, all those high school and college texts won’t pose a problem and they will be able to spend less time studying.  Any book they read will add something to their knowledge base, and improve vocabulary and communication skills as well as reading comprehension.

Read To Me!
Reading to your children is one of the best ways to instill in them a love of literature.  Reading every day for bedtime or story time when they are younger is a great start.  Read campfire stories when you go on vacation, read scary stories by candlelight and listen to books on tape when you take road trips.

You can let them do the reading when they get older.  Ask them to read the news to you, read recipes when you are cooking together and instructions when you are building new things or playing board games.

Read What’s Right For You
Many children associate reading with schoolwork and don’t want to spend their free time on academic tasks.  You can overcome this perception by finding other forms of literature that they will enjoy.  Don’t be opposed to buying comics, anime, manga or magazines that they are interested in.  Always ensure that the books are age-appropriate.

Get an electronic reader or a tablet for technically-minded students and get them to read blogs and books that they like online.  Select books that mirror your child’s interests.  For example, if you have a child who is soccer-crazy, get them literature on the World Cup and on their favorite soccer players.

Reward Good Reading
Make charts or graphs which track the number of books your children read.  You can offer rewards for goals reached so that they are motivated to continue reading. The library can be a fascinating place and when students get to select their own books, they may be more likely to read them.  Make your library a regular destination, especially over the summer vacation when they offer story times and other free activities that are fun.

Support Your Reader
Talk about the books that your child is reading.  Ask lots of questions and ask them what they think about the characters, the choices they made and how they would have handled a similar situation.  Showing your interest may encourage them to think of books in a more positive light.

If your child is too busy, they won’t read.  Ensure that you make time every week for reading to show that it is just as important as other after-school activities.  You should also lead by example so read books as well and take time to read together in the park, in your garden or even on the living room floor.

Note: Adapted from a post originally published 6/9/2014 on the Tutor Doctor Corp. blog

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Brilliant Summer Books for Middle School Students


Pic by Enokson

Pic by Enokson

Don’t let your middle school students fall victim to the summer brain drain. They can lose up to a fifth of the reading gains they made over the last year if they don’t read through the summer. The best way to motivate them is to find books that they love. Don’t be afraid to start with anime, magazines, manga or comic books—if it gets them reading they’re improving their vocabulary and communication skills too. Here are some great reads for middle school students. This list has something for everyone (even the reluctant readers).

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Indi comic sensation Gene Luen Yang really knocks it out of the park with this white-knuckle thriller that will have you guessing until the very end. Three apparently unrelated stories come together in an exploration of Chinese culture and the difficulties of being different. It’s a riot!

Holes by Louis Sachar
Stanley Yelnats (a fun palindrome name) blames his grandfather for his bad luck. Legend has it that Stanley’s grandfather stole a pig from a gypsy who put a curse of all the Yelnats for generations to come. Stanley is fat, kids make fun of him and now he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. A great read for kids who enjoy a good laugh.

The Hunger Games by Suzanns Collins
Even if you’ve watched the movies, these books are a gripping summer read. The empowering tale of a young girl, Katniss Everdene, who takes on the oppressive government powers in a profound portrayal of bravery. This book does have mature themes of violence and death.

Shots on Goal by Wallace Rich
If your middle school student is crazy about soccer and can’t wait for the World Cup to start, they will love this touching tale about Bones who is working to help his soccer team win while dealing with a crush on his best friend’s girlfriend.

Rules by Cynthia Lord
Twelve-year old Catherine has a lot on her plate; living with an autistic brother makes her life very complicated. Just to make things even more difficult, she strikes up a friendship with a paraplegic. This is a touching and sweet exploration of what it means to be the sibling of a special needs child.

Level E by Yoshihiro Togashi
Age-appropriate anime about an alien prince who crashes his ship on earth where he befriends a high school student. This book is short enough for students to get into and focuses on humor. Level E can be bought in a comic book series, as two animated art books or you can watch it on DVD.

Stuck in the Middle by Ariel Shrag
A marvellous comic about the trials and tribulations of middle school. This anthology features some of the industry’s best artists and story tellers. Beautifully illustrated, at times poignant, but mostly hysterical portrayal of life in middle school.

Note: Adapted from a post originally published 6/5/2014 on the Tutor Doctor Corp. blog

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Sunday Morning Shout Out


51sA8lMYYILA dastardly, bastardly bug of sorts infected our house last week.  That is worth a whole other blog, some other time.  Nothing worse than a bug that brings down four out of five household members in the middle of summer.  But I digress.

Against all odds, I was in Africa last week.  Zimbabwe to be exact, and then in Wyoming.  Before you think all the Lysol has gone to my head, let me explain.  I got completely lost in Alexandra Fuller’s , 2004 book Scribbling the Cat.  It chronicles her friendship with a white African, Rhodesian war veteran; his wartime experience; and  answers some of my questions of what became of her life, once she left Africa to live in the United States.  Fuller grew up in present day Zimbabwe, which was then Rhodesia and in Zambia.  Her two other memoirs titled Don’t Let Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood and Cocktail Hour Under Tree of Forgetfulness chronicle her life growing up in Africa.

Mind you, it is not light reading. It is full-blown, at times, brutal descriptions of war and its effects on the soldier she chronicles; on her as she hears and delves into his personal story; and on the people. The backdrop of this harrowing story is Africa in all its wild, incredible, incomprehensible beauty, with her countrymen and countrywomen living utterly, gloriously, messily, and sometimes tragically different lives than our own. It is good respite to lose ones perspective in favor of another, even for a short time.

So I ‘d highly recommend getting a little lost right now. It is the middle of summer.  It’s that point of summer feeling like a fleeting fancy and school lurking around the corner. Also, like anything else, when our children see us doing something, they are more likely to do it themselves. There are so many ups and downs in this beautiful, strange, sad, and joyous life. But I call it personal victory when I see my girls lost in books, even when the day or the week had other losses…

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Great Summer Reads for Elementary School Children


beachbookSummer is here and you want to keep your elementary students engaged and reading with these great summer books!

Popular Clone, by M.E. Castle
Protagonist Fisher Bas is a nerd, but he blames his bookishness on his family. With a Nobel laureate mother and a scientist dad, he’s probably right! Fisher uses his natural talents to overcome the difficulties of elementary school by cloning himself so he can send his clone to school while he stays home and plays video games. This book is a great read for those who are struggling to get into books or with social situations.

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass
This is a fun read about four elementary school students who set out to make the ultimate candy. Through their experiments, the reader gets to learn about candy making and science which is what this art is based on. This book is so engrossing, you won’t be able to put it down! Try some candy recipes of your own when you’re done.

The Worst Case Scenario Ultimate Adventure: Everest by David Borgenicht and Bill Doyle
This choose-your-own-adventure book is a great read for those who enjoy sport, adventure and travel. You will be the youngest member of a team who will be attempting to climb Everest. The team’s success depends on your choices, so think carefully! This is a cliff-hanging thriller from start to finish!

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
This is a delightful account of a Chinese family’s legacy. Minli is enthralled by her father’s bedtime stories about a poor dragon and the old man in the moon. When she sets out to change their fate, and the fate of her family, she has an epic adventure filled with stunning illustrations and incredible characters. This is a really special book that you will find enchanting and touching.

Drizzle by Kathleen Van Cleve
If you loved the Wizard of Oz, you will adore Drizzle. It’s an eclectic mix of humor and imagination that will have you skipping through the crazy farm that Polly lives on. Here bugs can talk, rhubarb tastes like chocolate and the balance of nature keeps everything in check. When the daily drizzle ends, things start to go horribly wrong and Polly must restore the natural balance in order to save her brother’s life.

100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson
When Henry York opens a cupboard, he discovers a portal to a whole new world. This is the first in a trilogy that is as thrilling an adventure as you have ever been on. When Henry’s family goes missing, he discovers the 100 cupboard doors, each cupboard leads to a new world, but Henry must figure out which ones his parents are in and how to get back to his own world. This series is thrilling, scary and gripping, so be prepared to buy all three books before the summer is though!

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