Thursday, June 25, 2015

Vacation Together - Read Together. #FamiliesRead

Join the PTA Family Reading Challenge!
We’ve followed a boy who lives within the gears of a train station clock.  Run with a  boy turned superhero when struck by lightning. Solved puzzling cases with kids in a mysterious society. Cheered on a would-be prince restored to his throne. Cried through a first-love trip to Amsterdam. Looked for the lost class guinea pig with twin sisters.

All from the blanket in the yard, cuddled up in bed, and riding in the car on cross-state roadtrips.

Of course, it’s all through the magic of books.

Since the kids were babies, I’ve read to and with them. I want my kids to share my love of reading, obviously for all the academic reasons – its necessary requirement for school, it makes one a better student, there’s a bunch of reading tests in school – but also because it’s great entertainment. Books are available on every subject imaginable and about all kinds of people doing all kinds of things. They can make you laugh or cry or think or wonder. And they’re portable!  Especially now with all the e-reader options on iPads, tablets, phones - there's really no excuse to not have a book with you.

And summer is a great season to get the kids reading. The long days, hours by the pool, enjoying an ice cream – they all go well with a good book.

As we pack our suitcases for vacation, everyone has two book tasks.
  • Select a book to read, whether a paper book or e-book for downtime.  The books have to be long enough to last past us pulling out of the driveway; other than that, there’s little rules.  Reading is the perfect end-of-the-day, calming activity. Parents can read aloud, or give the kids a turn to do so. Or everyone can read quietly, together.  I always end up packing more books than I can finish in how many ever days we'll be gone, but hey - you've gotta have goals.
  • Select an audio-book for travel time. When we do road-trips, we like a story to pass the hours and miles in the car.  The book has to be something everyone will enjoy, so this causes the most discussion and negotiations.  It also results in us driving around an extra block before parking, just to get to the end of the chapter and chit-chat waiting for dinner as we talk about what character we like (or didn’t) and what we think will happen next.

Selecting a book for family reading, as kids get older and with different age kids, can be a challenge. Here's a few that we've enjoyed together.  Note that with the audiobooks, one of the kids has usually read the "real" book first, then wants to share it with everyone else.
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society, Trenton Lee Stewart - book, audiobook
  • The False Prince (series) - book, audiobook
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick - book (but not the movie)
  • Scumble; Savvy - Ingrid Law - book, audiobook

The girls and I are traveling and listening to The Selection. This story about a girl who is selected, along with 34 others, to vie for the position of princess is a mixture of The Bachelor, Hunger Games, and The False Prince. I am just waiting for the Prince to send them all into the woods, looking for weapons as an archer shoots at them, only to discover one of them is the lost princess. Though my daughter assures me this is not going to happen.

Summer may not seem like the time for academics, but reading is the perfect lazy day activity. And reading together makes it even more fun.  So grab a book, gather the kids and enjoy.

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I’m proud to be taking part in the National PTA’s FamilyReading Experience Powered by Kindle and the Family Reading Challenge.  I’ve always loved reading and am excited that our largest parent advocacy organization is giving parents the incentives and encouragement to get engaged in their child’s education by reading.  
How to Raise a Reader - tips & stats from the National PTA #FamiliesRead
Check out the website - - for more information on the challenge – including how to win prizes for your family!  Share your families summer reading selections and experiences on social media with #FamiliesRead.
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