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Can you believe school is DONE?!!? Ack! Now everyone is kicking into “summer reading gear” and Jump Into a Book is no different. This year I decided to “mix it up” a bit and invite some of the many amazing bloggers and reading/play advocates that I know to stop by and share their knowledge and creativity with the JIAB readers.
PLUS it will offer kids and parents some cool new reading ideas and activities for summer.
Summer reading programs are abundant after school ends. It’s our goal to not only create an ongoing summer reading booklist with activities option for parents, but also work to keep the focus on helping our young readers be Global Citizens. We would like to focus on books that will help our kiddos explore their world and keep our initiative of multicultural books for kids in the forefront of people’s minds too. To achieve this, I created the Discover Your World Summer Reading Extravaganza.
This fun summer reading and activity event will run from June 1 to Sept 1 and we encourage your to keep stopping by Jump Into a Book during this time to view all of the booklists, book reviews, crafts, recipes and activities my guest bloggers will be sharing!
Here is our first guest for the Discover Your World Summer Reading Extravaganza, Shannon Medisky from SCIKite.com
Stand Tall, but Read All Around! Book Review and Activity by Shannon Medisky
I’ve got two little boys reading at drastically different levels. So finding books that we can all enjoy together can admittedly be a little difficult. Fortunately, though, I’ve found one particular book that fit that bill nicely, and I came up with a fun, creative way to help us all enjoy the book both together and individually, too.
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell and illustrated by David Catrow is a picture book that’s wonderfully easy to read aloud and beautifully unpredictable. Little Molly Lou is just that—little—and she gets bullied and picked on in many different ways because of it. But little Molly Lou surprisingly finds some pretty big ways to transform all her differences into advantages.
Lovell is an author and a teacher, and admitted in an interview that Molly Lou is “a spunky, self-possessed little girl who she admires.” And while “self-possessed” may initially sound like a bad thing, I’ve discovered it’s exactly the right thing to teach my kids about how to be good global citizens.
Wait! Don’t stop reading yet, but go ahead and readjust yourself and get comfortable because what I’m about to share might go against the grain a little bit. It admittedly might rub you the wrong way. After all, isn’t self-centeredness the exact opposite of what we should be teaching our kids to be? I disagree. Here’s why.
As I shared earlier, I have 2 sons. My biological son is 9 years old and typically developing. He meets and exceeds all his developmental and academic benchmarks at school. He towers over his peers and is nearly as tall as his dad already. My youngest son is nearly 8 years old. He’s also adopted and of a different ethnicity than everyone else in our family. He also happens to have many special needs, an intellectual disability, speech and communication issues and he’s legally blind to boot. And as if that weren’t enough, Mark’s also a little person, making finding his school uniform clothing in sizes 18month and 2T significantly challenging!
I share all of this because both my boys have struggled with bullying. My older son because he is so much bigger than everyone else, and my younger son because he is so much smaller and has so many special needs. Both my sons struggle with the same problem but in very different ways. Ironically enough, though, I’ve found that the best way to help both of them is encourage them to look inside themselves for their self-worth, discover and create their own strengths not in spite of their differences but because of them—just like little Molly Lou does in this book!
We enjoyed this book together as a read aloud first, making it a fast favorite. The story is anything but predictable due to Molly Lou’s creativity and David Catrow’s charmingly messy illustrations bring her character to life in believable ways. But perhaps what made this book the most fun was the activity I came up with after we shared the book together.
Because Nate can now read independently, I admittedly steer him towards chapter books and more challenging nonfiction. But just as it’s a mental break, a reprieve, for many adults to pick up and read a magazine, so can returning to a less-challenging picture book manuscript help older, independent readers reignite a love for reading. So, as you can imagine, Nate invited this opportunity wide-eyed and whole-heartedly. Mark, on the other hand, couldn’t wait to get his hands on the book and “read” it independently by revisiting the pictures all by himself.
I wanted to come up with an activity that supported what Molly Lou was and what echoed what both my boys are, too. I wanted the boys to experience reading in all the different rooms of the house. I wanted them to experience concretely and personally how even different surroundings can profoundly affect one experience. They shared the book together, laying on their tummies in the dining room as the summer sun spilled across the pages. Nate read it aloud to Mark as they sat criss-cross applesauce on the cold, tile floor of the laundry room. But, by far and away, hands down, the most popular room in the house was reading in the bathroom, while lying inside a cool but dry bathtub! With that in mind, I’m attaching a free (optional) printout/downloadable resource for parents to use with this activity idea! Click HERE to download your own copy.
Maybe little Molly Lou has it exactly right after all. Maybe encouraging kids to be a little more “self-possessed” can help them better withstands the bullying that will unfortunately, but likely always come their way. But at the same time, doing so can help build self-confident, tolerant, more respectful global citizens, too.
Shannon Medisky is on a mission to inspire innovative thought in kids while simultaneously igniting a passion for science. In short, Shannon seeks to make science go BOOM! So children’s futures can take off, too.
A former classroom teacher and current writer, Shannon presents science concepts in fun, easy-to-understand ways, helping kids to understand that science isn’t just a “what” but “how” also. Additionally, she challenges kids to think critically, creatively and differently, encouraging an entrepreneurial approach to learning and failure along the way. The result is true education reform one child at a time, empowering kids to affect positive change in their own lives now while simultaneously equipping them for what lies ahead.