Summer is in full swing and if we aren’t careful it will be gone. I used to think of August as the main vacation month, but now school activities start so early that July is more likely the time you can think vacation and summer reading. Sometimes it helps to have a list from which to choose. Literacy activities with children, your own, your grandchildren, or children you know sparkle our summers like July 4th sparklers. Summer literacy activities keep our minds active and keep students from failing behind when they return to the class room. They are also fun and build communication.
July 1: Monday, once considered wash day leads us to read about something or someone with the word "wash" in it such as President Washington, the state of Washington, the city of Washington D.C., or read about how the washing machine developed, etc. Discuss what you find at the dinner table.
July 2: Read about either a parent or grandparent's occupation and discuss why each chose it. This is wonderful activity to talk to those living or ask family members what they know about those no longer living.
July 3: Look through the library catalog to find out if there are any books with the word “July” in the title. If there is one available and it looks interesting, check it out and read it together. If there isn't a title, try another month's name. You might also look for patriotic material, especially if there is a veteran in the family.
July 4: What a wonderful time to discuss the parades you remember and maybe were in and discuss why parades look different in different parts of our country.
July 5: Each family member writes a description about a favorite pet and an incident involving it. Then read the descriptions out loud. (Transcribe for little ones.)
July 6: Get an Atlas or a globe out and locate where extended family members took vacations during the past two years and find out the farthest point someone you know has traveled from your home city or state.
July 7: Read the Sunday comics together and discuss each family member's favorite comic strip and how long he/she has been reading it.
July 8: Play Pony Express. Each family member finds an interesting newspaper article in one of the newspapers during the past week. He/she cuts it out, puts it in an old envelope and hand delivers it to another family member. That family member reads it, signs the outside of the envelope and hand delivers it to another family member.
July 9: Share a favorite fable with each other.
July 10: Choose ten titles of books you have in the home. Create new titles for them using synonyms. Example: Around the World in Eighty Days becomes “Surround the Earth in One Light Year”.
July 11: Go back to the library and look for books about trips and choose one to read together. Also, get pamphlets on vacation places and share your dreams.
July 12: Make a chart together of something that interests you such as Presidential birthdays and states where they were born, related animals, breeds of horses, types of rocks, etc.
July 13: Together write a family acrostic poem using the surnames of both mother and father. (The theme of the poem might be family characteristics, wishes, events, etc.)
July 14: Make family birthday cards for the year including a saying or verse. Then actually mail these cards at the appropriate time.
July 15: Watch a television show together and discuss how the characters seem real or not. How could the screenwriter have improved the show?
July 16: Each family member chooses an article from a magazine, and then each summarizes his/her article and reads it to the rest of the family. (Help younger family members do this.)
July 17: Each family member names a hero/heroine. Discuss the choices and find a book about one of them and read it together.
July 18: Discuss why you vote. Use an almanac for voting facts. Discuss what a "landslide" is in a presidential election.
July 19: Play video or board games together, and have the winner choose a book that the family reads together.
July 20: Write a round robin letter to a far-away relative or to a lonely person.
July 21: Watch a television newscast and find an article in the newspaper that is about something mentioned in the newscast. Discuss the different slants of the newscast and article.
July 22: Take a family walk to the library and come home with books whose titles start with the first letter of each person's first name. Read these books during the week and recommend them to other family members explaining why they should read the book.
July 23: Read together a folk tale book or a ghost story book.
July 24: Invite a grandparent(s) or adult friend(s) for supper and ask him/her to bring a favorite short story or tale to read after the meal.
July 25: Create a family journal where once a week each family member adds an entry. Once a month read the entries aloud.
July 26: Draw names and make a gift of love for that family member. Be sure and make your rules ahead of time, such as not being able to buy anything. Write an explanation of why you want to give it to that person. Set a deadline for when the gift is to be given, or plan a special event for the gift giving.
July 27: Compile a list of ten praises for each family member and post the list for a week.
July 28: Create a family poem or story and visit a nursing home and share it with friends there.
July 29: Dress up and go to a restaurant and read the entire menu and make a first, second, and third choice.
July 30: Read a book together then create a different ending.
July 31: Reward yourself for building literacy this month and share a favorite activity together.
I hope you have fun with July literacy. Until next week… Christine Pauley