Friday, June 17, 2022

Authentic Reading and Writing Opportunities for Summer to Build Background Knowledge

Summer is a time to put aside the constraints of the classroom, let loose, and have some fun, but that doesn't mean kids stop learning. In fact, summer is a great time to build background knowledge by exploring kids' special interests and activities through books.


Reading Rockets has put together a wonderful, free resource called Start With a Book. It includes three parts:

1. Choose a Topic to Explore - Reading Rockets provides a list of 24 different topics including Birds and Animals, Inventions and Inventors, Cooking and Food, Geography and Travel, and Nature: Our Green World. Many of these topics are also related to my Free PDF on Tips for Connecting Books with Summer Fun.

2. Find Great Kids Books - Under each topic, Reading Rockets provides links to several children's book titles, but that's not all. They also make suggestions for writing activities like Keeping a Nature Journal, Let's Write a Recipe, Building Stories where kids design a house, and Robots and Work where kids brainstorm an invention of a robot and write about it.

3. Keep the Adventure Going - Reading Rockets provides websites, podcasts, and more connected with each topic so kids can continue to build background knowledge.


Would you prefer short non-fiction articles for older students on a greater variety of subjects? Does your child have difficulty reading on their own? If so, you may want to check out ReadWorks. It is a free resource for educators and parents that provides short reading passages along with vocabulary activities and comprehension questions, on a variety of topics including STEM, social studies, poetry, and literary fiction. They include a recording of each reading passage to support struggling readers. To sign up for ReadWorks and learn more about what they offer, go to their website at  Articles are listed by grade level and length.

Through ReadWorks, kids can learn about geysers before visiting Yellowstone, read about a farmer's market in New York City before spending a day at their local venue, or investigate an animal that stirs their interest after a trip to the local zoo. These are all ways to build authentic reading experiences and background knowledge while capitalizing on a child's natural curiosity.

So have fun with those summer activities, but make those activities even more interesting by connecting them with something fun to read!

Watch for more book titles and tips by following this blog. Sign up for my newsletter HERE to receive the free writing template for Travel Trouble

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