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Summer Blog Party Kick-Off Hop

Hello Friends!

Welcome to the last stop in this hop designed to help you prevent "the summer learning slide!"

On behalf of all of my teacher-author friends whose posts you've read, pinned ideas, and gathered great freebies from, I thank you from the bottom of our literacy-loving hearts!

As I was brainstorming ideas about what to share with you today, I began reminiscing about my own summer reading experiences as a child.  Some of my best memories center around afternoons spent at the public library, picking out books with my Mom and younger sisters.   

My favorite librarian there introduced me to the magic of Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume.  She helped me find Little Men, and Jo's Boys, after I'd read Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. She handed me Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery with a smile and a nod saying, "I think you'll like Anne Shirley!"  She made sure that I read Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series in correct sequence. Spunky heroines having grand adventures helped me imagine life in far off lands and time travel through history.

I was that child who would read while sitting on the porch step, swinging on the backyard swing, underneath the shade of our big oak tree, or riding in the car. I'd fall asleep reading by the light of a bed lamp, and I'd wake up to enjoy some more of the story before breakfast and chores.  

Books were my free ticket to an "imagination vacation" places where I'd meet diverse people with problems to solve and great things to accomplish.

Reading was something my parents never had to ask me or force me to do.  It came naturally and I loved it.  I still do.  It is that love that I try to instill in my students every single day in Room #2.

Sure, we read for good "reasons."  To solve addition story problem, to find new facts about insects, and to build vocabulary. 

But we also read for pure and plain pleasure.  Pigeon, Elephant and Piggie, Pete the Cat, Amelia Bedelia, and Froggy are just a few of the book characters whose stories we enjoy just for the chuckles sometimes.  

Sometimes we read for the pure beauty of the life lessons learned in Patricia Polacco's personal narratives like My Rotten Redheaded Brother and Chicken Sunday.  

Sometimes we read to respect and honor the lives of famous Americans whose perseverance, honesty, tolerance, and positive attitudes are strong examples of what kind of people we should grow up to be.

Sometimes we read to learn more about our favorite non-fiction things and feed our need to wonder about nature and animals in the world around us.

Minutes are not logged.  We enjoy reading for the sheer pleasure of it.  Follow-up work sheets are not passed out.  Leveled books are not distributed or assigned.  Students choose from our vast collection of genre bins and find a quiet spot to focus, escape, and enjoy.  Sometimes what is supposed to be a 20-minute "Read To Self" period stretches to 30-minutes because they ask for more, and that makes me smile.

When we come back together after reading by ourselves, we take the time to share ideas, thoughts, and questions we have about what we've read.  We make lots of personal connections to different types of text, and  ask "What if......?" and "Did you ever have an experience like..?" and "What would you do if you were a certain character....?"

Now, you are probably thinking.......

What does this long ramble have to do with preventing the dreaded academic "summer slide" that teachers everywhere worry about?  In a perfect world, I would send home a stack of books and a hammock with each one of my second graders so that they can continue to feed their need to read in a happy, comfortable place during the months of June, July, and August.  Since I can't do that, I try to do the next best thing, and that is send this Imagination Vacation pack home in hopes that their families will help them maintain our momentum AND take them to the library!

I tried to include a variety of genre suggestions and writing prompts in this resource.  I hope that it will spark parent interest and remind them that it is important for their child to read independently AND with them at home.  That it is crucial that they help provide the fuel or encouragement needed for their child's reading and writing journey.

I tell my students that they should bring it back to me at Open House for a hug and a bookmark in the fall.  I tell them that books will always be a magical, mysterious passport on their learning journey, and that I am so proud to have been their guide.  I also paraphrase the lyrics from two of my favorite Beatles songs and remind them....

Let books be your free "ticket to ride" along on an imagination vacation this summer!  

May they guide you along on a "magical, mystery tour!" 

Now, I know many of you are teachers are already on break, but maybe you can use this literacy pack with next year's students?!  Those who are parents with young readers at home can participate in the summer fun by downloading this FREE file from my TpT store {HERE}.  Know that your thoughtful feedback is always appreciated.

Our blog hop would not be complete without a "surprise inside," so be sure to enter our Rafflecopter to win one of two $25 TpT gift certificates we are giving away!   

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for being our loyal followers!  Know that your readership is truly appreciated, as are your post comments.  Be sure to come visit, link up with us, and check to see if you are a lucky winner on the morning of Wednesday, July 24th.  Members of The Reading Crew and Adventures in Literacy Land will be back with posts about phonics and phonemic awareness! 

A complete list of upcoming topics follows:

 Get more details back at Carla's blog,

As always, thanks for sharing my stories and songs!  May the magic inside of books always inspire your teaching!  Continue to enjoy your summer, and keep finding new ways to teach your children well!

Warm Regards,

Jennifer Reynolds
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  1. WOW! Great hop! I found so many new stores and blogs to follow...Thanks girls!

  2. Your passions are just contagious! I would be so honored if my own children could be in your classroom. I was able to witness the love that you quickly instilled in them for music and guitars. I cannot even imagine the reading power that you have in your classroom! I love the freebie (and the cover is so cute!!) Thanks for the great post!
    Curious Firsties

  3. This is such a cute idea! What a great way to motivate kids to read different genres. Thank you!

  4. Awesome idea! Thank you! I would love for my sons to have a teacher as passionate as you are.
    That Literacy Blog

    1. Your comment made my heart happy! Thanks so much!

  5. Oh my have such a gift for writing, Jennifer. I just loved your post and picturing you in that back porch swing...saddle shoes and all!! What a great connection you had with the librarians too! I love that about our library...they know my kids and always initiate conversations of what to read next. Librarians are special people, and I was so lucky to work with a gem at Paul Munro Elementary...Mrs. Ruth Ann McCarthy is THAT librarian who makes a difference. In fact, I need to go give that shout out to her. :-) Thanks for all your work with the Rafflecopter too. Great job!!

  6. Wow, this is a great post! I love your freebie, too! I just left a 4 star rating. If I could have given you a higher rating, I would have. :) Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to put this to good use with my students, as well as my own kiddos.
    Literacy Loving Gals

  7. I actually never loved to read until I became a teacher (the horror!) I wish I had experiences like you did growing up - with your favorite librarian and all those great reads. Things would have been way different! Thanks for sharing your story, and the great freebie! :-)

  8. Reading your beautiful post took me back to my own childhood, as I, too, was a little bookworm! Because no one ever "forced" me to read but rather read to me and showed me the magic of books, I share a similar philosophy that you do. So many of our students do not have this experience or passion which is why I have dedicated my life to literacy. Your students are so blessed to have you as their teacher! :-)

    1. Stay dedicated and passionate, my friend! Thanks for sharing your story! From one bookworm to another!

  9. Thanks (to all of you) for sharing so many great ideas!

    1. Thanks so much for your readership, Carla! The Reading Crew appreciates it!

  10. What an awesome post! You are such an inspiring teacher! Your students past and present are so lucky to have you! I love the idea of sending kids home with books and a hammock...the image of kiddos relaxing and reading their sweet summers away would make my heart happy! I hope you have a hammock and book-filled summer! Hope to see you in Las Vegas!

    1. Thanks for your kind comments, Erin! I do not have a hammock......but I have a deck chair that does the trick! I will look for you in Vegas, my friend! Until then, enjoy your family and the summer sunshine!

  11. Thanks for arranging the rafflecopter! I remember being so addicted to series books when I was young that I would drive my mother crazy. She couldn't understand how I could possibly need another new Babysitter's Club book every three days.

    Literacy Spark


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