2005-08-18 / Direct Answers

Answers From the Teacher

Summer reading is getting a little boring in our house. We seem to be stuck in our own patterns of reading short novels or picture books. Do you have any suggestions to liven things up a little?

Once everyone gets a little bored with what they’re reading, it’s time to choose another genre together. You could try choosing a topic of general interest and locating books in the library to research your topic. For instance, this may be a good time to study space travel. If your children are reading novels and not reading the daily newspaper, you may want to encourage them to spend sometime each day getting to know their own daily newspaper.

Another idea is to introduce them to poetry books. Poetry is much more than just a topic covered in school for a few weeks in language arts class. When you visit your local library or bookstore, find the poetry section and spend some time locating a book that you think will interest everyone. You may want to find poetry that is written especially for children, or poems about nature, or perhaps a mixed bag of topics would work for everyone. Have everyone select a favorite poem and practice reading it aloud to one another.

Finally, if you’re really up for an adventure, try reading a play aloud. You will need to get several copies of the same play, choose parts, and go from there. Don’t read the stage directions aloud; just leave time for everyone to read them to themselves. Choose a classic play from Shake-speare or perhaps a more modern one that may have special meaning to you.

It’s already started around my house; my youngest is saying that he doesn’t want to go to school. He’s has a history of separation anxiety, and it can be difficult on everyone. Is there anything that I can do to help him?

Start now by reminding him that school is a fun place where he will meet new friends and be able to play and learn with them. It can be difficult for children to make the transition from being home all summer, sleeping late, to getting up early, getting ready for the school day and heading out the door.

Routine is very helpful for children. Practice your goodbyes now when you leave your children with someone else. Make it quick. Give him a kiss, a hug, and then walk away. Remind him that you will always come back. But whatever you do, don’t get dragged into the drama, even though you may feel discomfited by the whole thing. Keep everything the same everyday and eventually your child will become accustomed to the situation.

When it’s time to help your child look forward to school, set your budget and go back-to-school shopping. Give your son as much leeway as you can possibly stand when it’s time to pick out some clothes, a lunchbox, and a backpack. You may be surprised how their favorite super hero t-shirt can get them through a day. Remind your son that he’s a great kid and, because of that, he’ll make good friends at school.

Send questions to: Answers from the Teacher, P.O. Box 54, South Egremont, MA 01258. Questions may also be e-mailed to answersfromtheteacher@adelphia.net.

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