Arkansas PBS > Engage > Blog > Raise a reader this summer, here's how....

Raise a reader this summer, here's how....

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  • Julie
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My brain is so full of end of the year school activities like graduations (from pre-school...the best kind....only 15 or so kids to watch cross the stage rather than buses full), summer sign-ups, Scout neckerchief ceremonies.....that it may explode all over this screen.  It's not the activities that make me neurotic – once we get there it's all squirting tears and joy - it's the remembering of the details, logistics and figuring out of how to get who where with what they need with what snacks.  I see you nodding your head, you get it.

Last night was 'Box of Books night' at elementary school.  I tell you what, when my kid gets more excited about reading than most other things, I'll break both my legs and bounce my own activities to get him there with a jacked up box from our moving days.  We were the first ones there (because that was the 17 minutes of my day I had free) and he knew exactly what sections to hit.  Can you guess?  Dinosaurs, race cars, insects....and he did promise his little sister to get some for her so we walked away with some books with cute kittens on the front, faded flowers on others (he couldn't stop long enough to see if the content was what she would want but I give him an A for effort regardless - and it did give this Mama a chance to have the 'there aren't really girl things and boy things' discussion from the feminist in me.)  I did throw in a Rosa Parks book and one on 'Nutritious eating' to balance the critter and testosterone stories.  

One of my great pleasures in life at the moment is of my kids learning to read.  Not only is it a proud Mama moment, but I work on toning my abs guffawing when my daughter writes all her wishes and super triple secrets in her new 'diarrhea' a.k.a 'diary', or when she whispers that she wants to learn to read like her big brother during her Kindergarten 'Imitation' a.k.a 'Orientation'.  She is also demanding to get the teacher with the pretty skirt on, so there you go.  Priorities.  Bless all those kindergarten teachers....there is some extra special patience chip you have in your brain I am sure....even those of you without the pretty skirt.   

So to unload my brain a little and keep my kids reading this summer, PBSKids is going to help me with some special literacy projects starting in June:

You can watch special 10 weeks of reading-themed programming beginning May 23 on AETN and find interactive games and activities that build literacy skills at and  

  • "Arthur" Author Week, beginning Mon., May 30
  • "Curious George" Country Monkey Week, beginning Mon., June 6
  • "Martha Speaks" Martha Summer Fun Week, beginning Mon., June 27

Join the PBSKids/iVillage Summer Reading Challenge at for a six-week program starting June 6 that helps children discover the joy of reading.  Sign up for a daily email of activities, book suggestions, and coaching tricks featuring Curious George and other characters.  

Coming in June, in collaboration with JetBlue, join Soar with Reading at to start a social media project where you can take a cut-out of PBS Kids character Hooper on your vacation and share stories on an interactive site.

I am starting with Sid the Science Kid this weekend with 'Be a Weatherperson' project you can find at  With Arkansas weather lately and the gazillion questions I get from my kids about tornadoes and floods and 'Mommy, how does that siren thing work?', I figure it's a winner all around….