Saturday, June 1, 2013

Get ready for...

It's June now. And, in a few short weeks it will be summer! Ahhhh, my very favorite time of the year.

The sunshine, picnics, swimming, basking outside in the glorious warmth and all that fun.

One of the things that we (my son, Matthew, and I) especially look forward to is:

the summer reading program through our local library.

We have done this for several years--complete with buying him a very cute summer reading t-shirt at the library--to Matthew receiving a new favorite book (of his choice) from the library's prize book selection, upon completion of his reading chart and wonderful story adventures.

Today, June 1st, marked the 'let the summer reading program begin' day at our local library.

So, we excitedly picked up a packet (which includes a cute reading chart) and we will definitely be on board the reading train, that takes place promptly at bedtime, this evening in our household.

Reading books together is a marvelous way to incorporate language (and a whole lot more) into your child's learning process. Plus, it's just so much fun to find/discover/stumble upon the perfect books that capture your child's attention and stir up their imagination in such delightful ways, all the while helping them to learn and grow, through creative and expressive reading adventures and enjoyment.

Matthew has Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum. He is non-verbal, and although he is unable to read, he is certainly an avid reader of books and has his personal favorite books that tickle his funny bone--give him the giggles, send him into the super sillies, bring about so much anticipation that he is about to burst, and also has favorite books (pages in books) that cause him to all out belly laugh so hard that I sometimes (ahem) always have to stop reading because I'm laughing, too!

What's the best thing about reading? Well, for us, it's having the ability to take a book that Matthew loves and then dive in head first--acting it out--making the words and story jump right off the pages and straight into Matthew's mind's eye.

While I love to read the words to him, I can create a whole new kind of experience and reaction, and grasp his attention far greater, if I express those words in such a way that they help to conjur up images in Matthew's mind and make them more real, more meaningful for him, making them come to life, and expanding those words right off the page, acting the story out right before his eyes.

I will also pause quite often in a story to explain something we read, to point to a part of his body that we are talking about, to tickle him--if we are reading about tickling, to tell him something funny that happened to me while I was a little girl--(that has to do with the page we are reading), etc.

For example: In one very cute book, with a bouncy repetitive rhythmic rhyme, that we borrowed from the library...

A Summery Saturday Morning

...there is a page that talks about geese that won't back down. Matthew thinks it's hilarious when I stop the story (right after reading that page about the geese) and tell him about how when I was a little girl I was at a park with my family and we were down by the lake playing in the grass, with our shoes on, fully dressed, and there were some big geese...and one BIG white goose chased me backwards (and I start acting it out for him, moving backwards and looking behind me--as I'm telling him the story) and the goose was HONKING at me...honk, honnnk, honk, and that BIG goose nearly chased me right into the lake!

I definitely notice a huge difference in Matthew's learning abilities when we have an engaging reading program taking place in our home on a regular basis.

Reading (and playful story time) helps build/increase his understanding of language with such a natural, flowing ease.

It also helps him express and become equally involved in a story when he can use sign language for the words he knows, as I am reading, and when he can choose which book he would like me to read.

Of course, for a child who is able to read, or who is just learning to read, there are so many motivating and creative ways to help them learn through the use of books.

I encourage you to join a summer reading program at your local library or to conjur up your own homemade summer reading adventures.

Here are a few of my child's favorite books...
(click on the links below to explore more about each book)

click to see inside this book

Piggy Wiglet - by David L. Harrison

Little Donkey Close Your Eyes - by Margaret Wise Brown

Llama Llama Red Pajama - by Anna Dewdney

Goodnight, Me - by Andrew Daddo

Fred's Bed - by Marilyn Singer

Sheila Rae, The Brave - by Kevin Henkes

The Three Bears - by Byron Barton

You may like to view a previous summer reading post from July of 2010 (with a few additional books).

We'd love to know the favorite books that your child adores and loves to read.

Read what others are saying by clicking on the "comments" below.

Please consider sharing your child's favorite books in the comment section--because it's always so much fun to have new books to explore. And, definitely, please feel free to elaborate and tell us what your child especially likes about their favorite book.