Reading has been a part of my life always. From my parents reading to me before I could recognize letters to getting my first library card for the Philadelphia Library system to picking out books to buy from the Scholastic weekly reader order form in elementary school, I remember always loving to read and getting "lost" in a book. I have shared my love of reading with my son, who at 33 months is starting to ask what words letters spell and loves his story times before nap and bed time. Recently while at my parents' house I was pulling out many of my old books from childhood and have begun sharing them with Andrew. I found a full shelf of books from the "I can read!" series that I must have collected as an elementary student. While Andrew is still too young to read those books himself, I am anticipating the day when he can read one of my first "I can read!" books, Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff.
The "I can read" series of books debuted in 1957 when a librarian in Boston contacted a friend at HarperCollins because she noticed a need for simple, easy to read books for youngsters who were beginning readers. The first book that was published was Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik and was followed by Danny the Dinosaur. Today there are over 200 titles of "I can read!" books in five different levels. I recently bought my seven year old niece, a new reader, one of the Fancy Nancy beginning reader books. She was familiar with the Fancy Nancy picture books and now that she was reading on her own, she could identify and read the story herself. (Giving kids books is my favorite present to give.) What is really great about the "I can read!" series is the price...at under $4 a book, it is an inexpensive investment into a child's future.
How we embrace Summertime Reading...
With no scheduled classes for the summer, Andrew and I take advantage of the free programs offered at out local library. We go to the library at least once a week where Andrew likes to play on the computer with the age-appropriate games and to check out a few new books. He also is a big fan of the children's librarian, Mr. Jim, who has story time each week. During the summer he is holding a mixed ages group for babies, toddlers and preschoolers with their parents every Friday morning. The library has a Summer Read-A-Thon for children of all ages in which they can win prizes for reading books! Monday mornings @ the library is a program featuring a different theme each week for kids 6 years old and younger. I'm looking forward to the visit from the NJ Aquarium! There are also many programs for older children scheduled at the library. I love that our local library has so many wonderful and free programs for kids to encourage their love of reading. Making summer reading fun is a great way to take some boredom out of the lazy days of summer and giving children a chance to exlpore something in a book that will open their mind to new experiences. My goal for Andrew is to further his enjoyment of books and being read to and to encourage him to continue to explore the alphabet. I look forward to the day when he is able to read his first book. Maybe it will be Danny and the Dinosaur!
If you would like to learn more about this "I can read!" campaign for encouraging summer reading for children, please check out this Twitter Moms discussion!
I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms blogging program to be eligible to get an "I Can Read!" book. For more information on how you can participate, click here.