Having Fun with Reading This Summer, Part 2

In my last post, I shared ideas for read-alouds and summer reading lists. In this blog, I’ll focus on books that talk about friends and family. Kids’ friendships often strengthen in the summer, since they have more time to spend with old friends (and time to make new ones). Here are two of my favorite AfterSchool KidzLit books that focus on friendship.

Great Books that Highlight Friends and Family

Three Cheers for Catherine the Great, Grades K–3, Set 6
What will all of Grandma Catherine’s friends and family do when she says she wants no presents for her birthday? Her granddaughter Sara is especially concerned. Catherine, who came from Russia to the United States many years ago, is important to Sara, her mother, and their whole apartment building community. As Sara puts it, “Any NO PRESENT for Grandma had to be GREAT-just like she was.” As the neighbors and her mother come up with some fun and surprising “no presents,” Sara learns that presents can take many different shapes. Eventually she too comes up with a special “no present” to give at a wonderful birthday party of borscht and blintzes for Catherine the Great.

Download the AfterSchool KidzLit Guide for Three Cheers for Catherine the Great

Things kids can do to extend the read-aloud experience:

  • Learn to waltz
  • Share birthday experiences
  • Plan and have a “no presents” party
  • Learn about poetry
  • Make a pattern quilt
  • Share their appreciation for each other

Meet Danitra Brown, Grades 3–5, Set 5
In a series of 13 lively rhymes, Zuri Jackson tells the story of her friendship with Danitra Brown, the “most splendiferous girl in town.” Danitra is strong, confident, and wise. Together, the two friends can do almost anything they put their minds to. These easy-to-read rhymes bring to life the joys and challenges of friendship and growing up in a close-knit urban neighborhood.

Things kids can do to extend the read-aloud experience:

  • Write and share friendship stories
  • Compose group poetry (graffiti poem)
  • Write their own jump rope or basketball rhyme and perform it
  • Write a “You Oughta Meet” poem and illustrate it with watercolors
  • Practice the groups’ favorite poems and present to others

Download the AfterSchool KidzLit Guide for Meet Danitra Brown

I hope you’re looking forward to connecting with friends and family this summer. Be sure to share your stories with the kids in your care and ask them if they have stories of their own to share. Think about ways to incorporate this theme into more extensions for summer reading. The children could describe visits with friends and family in detail, or write about a trip they would like to take, illustrate the story, and learn about a destination of their choice. Any activity that encourages reading is a good one!

Learn More!

For more tips on summer reading fun, read the previous blog in this series. Learn more about AfterSchool KidzLit here, or contact your local education consultant to find out how you can get your kids reading more this summer.

Happy reading!