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Making Reading Relevant: Read, Learn, and Do! (K-3)

By: Reading Rockets (2008)

If you are taking a trip to a new place, you may pick up a travel book to learn more about your destination. Reading makes our real-world experiences more meaningful. It gives us historical perspective, a sense of other cultures, an introduction to the symbols and viewpoints we may encounter. Books help us make sense of what we see around us.

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Books do the same thing for children. Fictional stories help children work through fears and desires, and nonfiction helps them understand processes and observe patterns. Every time you pair a book with an experience, you are giving your child an opportunity to learn more about their world.

Art

Fiction: Scribble, by Deborah Freedman, or The Art Lesson, by Tomie de Paola

Nonfiction: Frida, by Jonah Winter, or Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors, by Jane O'Connor

Activities: Have your child draw a self-portrait, and then have him or her tell you about it. Visit an art museum or a public art show, or find examples of art in your community (such as murals or sculptures) and talk about which pieces you like and find interesting.

Food

Fiction: Salsa Stories, by Lulu Delacre, or Bunny Cakes, by Rosemary Wells

Nonfiction: Emeril's There's a Chef in My Soup!, by Emeril Lagasse, or Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers & Up, by Molly Katzen and Ann Henderson

Activities: Go to a make-it-yourself pottery studio and decorate a special serving dish, or create your own with a pottery kit. Make a family recipe with your child and talk about where it came from.

Storms

Fiction: Rainstorm, by Barbara Lehman, or The Buffalo Storm, by Katherine Applegate

Nonfiction: The Magic School Bus Inside a Hurricane, by Joanna Cole, or Twisters and Other Terrible Storms, by Will and Mary Pope Osborne

Activities: Put together a storm kit with items like a flashlight, extra batteries, and bottled water. Brainstorm some things you could do at home if the electricity went out. Put the list in the storm kit!

See also paired fiction/nonfiction activities for pre-K.

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