Jan 25, 2012

Should Kids Read Less or Just Do More?

The headline “Why I Want My Kids to Read Less” is a provocative one, and the title of Alina Adams’ piece today at Raising Kvell. In her article she outlines that reading offers a mostly passive, vicarious experience, very different to the active play that she enjoyed watching her son engaged in before he “got sucked into the crack pipe that is children’s literature.”

Maybe a happy medium can be achieved by doing activities that reinforce the reading that captivates the imagination. Books can be made into skits and cartoons, dioramas and finger puppet shows. Books’ content can serve as inspiration for related activities that get kids out of the world of the mind and into the social world, meeting new people and learning about new things and themselves.
Here are some ideas:
Barnyard Purim tells the story of a group of animals who decide to stage their own Purim shpiel, with somewhat disastrous but hilarious results. Read the book and then visit a farm or petting zoo. A very cool place to visit is Superstition Farm in Mesa, Arizona.

Say Hello, Lily is about a little girl shyly joining her mother as she volunteers at Shalom House. Overwhelmed at first, Lily eventually makes friends with the residents and is part of a special party. Visit a nursing home in your city and share time with elders. See if there is actually a Shalom House in your area: Google Search of Shalom House.

Read Sammy Spider’s Tu B’Shevat and be inspired by another of Sammy’s learning adventures to have one of your own. Go for a walking tour of your neighborhood and snap pictures of different trees. Or, visit an arboretum and ask questions about different types of plants and trees, plus how spiders make trees their habitats. Find a list of arboretums and public gardens here.   

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