Wednesday, April 28, 2021


You may find the video above on YouTube.

It's summer and everyone is exhausted from months of pandemic isolation, hunkering down at home, and neverending Netflix. We want to get outside. We want to play. We want to travel. But many of us are concerned that our kids have missed valuable instruction time over the past several months. We know that summer reading is important, but how do we balance that with having fun in the sun and being with friends? Is there anything more that we can do for our kids to enhance the reading experience besides taking them to the library and the bookstore? Does leisure reading end when summer is over?

Today's discussion is about simple ways to make books come alive. Join me and my lively panel of New Mexico children's authors (Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, Lois Ruby, and Caroline Starr Rose) to explore tips for getting the most out of leisure/summer reading. These authors and their books are featured in my new resource Story Frames for Teaching Literacy: Enhancing Student Learning Through the Power of Storytelling. The authors begin the video with exciting previews of their books which would all make great summer reads. 

My book is primarily for educators, but the focus of today's panel is on families. If you are a teacher, feel free to send this blog link and the PDF downloads home to families to encourage summer reading.

The authors featured today are also retired educators and librarians. They helped me come up with a list of tips for enhancing leisure reading. The list of our FIVE TIPS is below. To access the expanded and printable version discussed in the video, see the PDF download. 

Five Tips for Getting the Most Out of Summer Reading

1. Be a Book Lover
2. Provide Access to Books and Other Reading Materials
3. Encourage Exploration
4. Read Books Together
5. Make Reading Connections

Amy Miller, Director of the May Center for Learning, was not able to be part of our video as was originally planned, but she and I did hold a separate interview that may be accessed HERE. Find out what inspired her to use superhero stories with struggling learners. 

For further exploration, see my previous blog posts where authors Lois Ruby and Caroline Starr Rose talk about their writing styles and the differences between being a Panster vs. a Plotter.

See author Vaunda Micheaux Nelson's post on her blog - Poetry Break! Enjoy the Moment. During our panel, she also mentions one of her favorite books for encouraging reading aloud Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox, as well as The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma who shares her experience of being in fourth grade and making a promise with her father to read 100 books aloud with him in 100 days. The experience was so meaningful that they continued reading books together until she graduated from high school. 

Reading aloud is not just for little kids!

To find out more about the books written by the authors in this video, visit the links below.

Story Frames for Teaching Literacy: Enhancing Student Learning Through the Power of Storytelling by Carolee Dean.

Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

A Race Around the World: The True Story of Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland (She Made History) by Caroline Starr Rose.

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose.

Steal Away Home by Lois Ruby

You may download a complete list of the 32 children's books explored in Story Frames for more great ideas for summer reading.

For suggestions from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Associatin (ASHA) on how to improve language, literacy, and learning over the summer, visit ASHA SUMMER TIPS.


Thanks to the following bookstores for supporting the recent release of

Story Frames for Teaching Literacy

Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse, 202 Galisteo St., Santa Fe, NM 87501 (505-988-4226). Thanks to the bookstore for their generous support of my book and of Amy Miller, contributing author to Story Frames and director of the May Center for Learning. During the entire month of May 2021, CW will donate 15% of all book sales when the purchaser mentions the May Center (unless the publisher's discount to CW is less than the industry standard).

Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Coronado Mall, 6600 Menaul Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110 (505-855-7799). B&N will donate a percentage of sales in the store on May 26 (and online on May 26-30) to the May Center for Learning for scholarships to the Summer LEAP Program which will be held at the Albuquerque Academy. Use the code when 12609863 ordering books. This code may be used at any B&N nationwide, so spread the word. 

Second Star to the Right, 1545 S. Pearl Street, Denver, CO (303-733-3773). On Tuesday, June 1, the bookstore will host a live, online event at 7pm Mountain Time when I travel north to talk with Colorado children's authors/illustrators Andrea Wang, Dow Phumiruk, and Beth Anderson. We will explore writing personal narratives and memoir. Find out more about the event and find the Event Brite Signup HERE.

Watch for more bookstore collaborations coming late summer and early fall.

To receive a FREE writing template PDF for kids, sign up for my newsletter HERE and have fun with summer writing!

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