Summer literacy activitiy: Scavenge for the answers

They wait all school year for it. They squeal as the final school bell rings, “Summer Vacation!” Yet, we’re only a few weeks into the break and already they’re moaning, “I’m bored!” Parents swore that this year would be different. “No more cartoons and video games!” they promised themselves.

Thus begins my summer literacy series: activities that promote family fun time and increase essential literacy skills.

We’ll begin today with an activity for the entire summer: Scavenge for the answers!

1. Hang a sheet of paper and a pencil in handy place (like on the refrigerator). Each day, as you go about your normal summer fun, compile a list of questions. When a question arises, make a big to-do about adding it to the list. Examples: How do fireflies glow? Why does water get in your ears when you swim? Who invented hot dogs? Which star is the brightest?

2. Buy or make a fancy decorated answer book or folder to record your findings. On a specified day (perhaps bi-weekly), copy the list, tape it inside the answer book and head out for the local library.

3. At the library, help the kids look for nonfiction books, magazines and even DVDs that match the questions. Don’t forget to ask the youth librarian for assistance. Older kids can also search kid-safe Internet sites for answers. You can start your safe web search on the American Library Association’s Great Web Sites For Kids link page: HERE.

4. Either check out the books or settle into one of the nice big tables that are usually located in the youth section. Assist the kids in finding the answers, allowing them to write the answers (in their own words) inside their special answer book. They may also enjoy illustrating the answers.

At summer’s end, you’ll have a fantastic memory book as well as a lot of new background knowledge to begin the school year off right!

© 2007-2009 Cheryl Vanatti for
Review also posted as National Reading Examiner.
*Photo courtesy Franklin Park Library via Flickr Commons

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