⌛ By Kaylin R. Staten ⌛
Summer Learning Day was July 12, and the Cabell County Family Resource Network and its initiative, the Cabell County Student Empowerment Team, have been promoting ways to encourage summer learning and decrease learning loss. The National Summer Learning Association has a wealth of knowledge for parents, educators and more.
According to CCSET’s op-ed piece in The Herald-Dispatch:
“In many cases, most students lose at least two months of their mathematical skills every summer. Summer is especially critical for the most vulnerable students in our community. This group includes children who receive special education services and those who live in poverty. According to a study by John Hopkins University, ‘Summer learning loss during elementary school accounts for two-thirds of the achievement GAP IN READING between low-income children and their middle-income peers by ninth grade.’”
Summer learning was always a facet of my life as a child and young adult. Whether my sister and I hosted “private” fan clubs underneath the dining room table (and counted “members”) or I rang up customer’s purchases at our family’s store when I was a toddler, I’ve always been an engaged person when it comes to learning. Since I was a child, I’ve had books by my side, so it has always been relatively easy for me to read in every season. I mean, I used to forgo nap time to read books. I love to read, and that has shaped my career as a professional writer.
The National Summer Learning Association has a four-page PDF of recommended reading lists for newborns to children in 8th grade. In addition to this expansive and great list, I have some recommendations from my own childhood to share with you. Here are four of my favorite children’s books:
How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
I have always been obsessed with The Grinch. In fact, my husband and I purchased How The Grinch Stole Christmas for our niece, Aubree, as a baby shower present. It was the first book I ever read to her — and she was born in August. I read and reread this classic year-round. It’s a story of being grumpy (hello, me in the mornings) and making some mistakes but also finding redemption, love and friendship. (And I also love other Dr. Seuss books!)
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
I received this book from my second-grade teacher. She gave each student a book during the school year. I can’t remember if it was for Christmas or something, but this book has always stayed with me. I loved the story of Miss Rumphius, from her beginnings as a young girl to when she became an old woman. It taught me early on about having a legacy, being passionate about traveling and that little girls can accomplish anything. Plus, the artwork is beautiful!
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
I first encountered Anne of Green Gables in fifth grade when we watched the movie in class. I read the book and fell in love with Prince Edward Island and all of Anne’s experiences on the Canadian island. Anne was optimistic and true to herself, which is something we all need to hear as children (and adults!). This was one of the first long-term tales I invested in as a child.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Fantasy has always been one of my favorite genres. It’s easy to escape to another land, and be fully immersed in the epic story of Narnia and its key protagonists and antagonists. Although I have an affinity for the “good” characters, I always was fascinated with The White Witch and her Turkish Delight and inner motivations. What can I say? I do love flawed characters, too. Plus, who wouldn’t want to find a snowy dreamscape in your own wardrobe or closet?
What’s your favorite book from your childhood? Trust me, this is only a brief snippet of the books I love!
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Kaylin R. Staten is an award-winning public relations practitioner and writer. She owns Hourglass Omnimedia, a consulting company based in Huntington, WV.