Family Time Calendar: Get Relaxed - iVillage

Late this afternoon or early in the evening, settle in together for an outdoor summer story session. Pile into the hammock together, or light up that outdoor fire pit Dad got for Father's Day -- or just pull a few deck chairs into a circle for a special read-aloud evening.

What you'll need:

A book to share

  • Under 4:
    The Complete Adventures of Curious George; Miss Rumphius; Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel; Thomas the Tank Engine: The Complete Collection; One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish; Green Eggs and Ham; Where the Wild Things Are; Madeline
  • 4-8:
    My Father's Dragon; Stuart Little; Charlotte's Web; The Giving Tree; The Sneetches and Other Stories; Horton Hears a Who!; George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends; In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories
  • 9-12:
    The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking
    ; books from the Goosebumps series; James and the Giant Peach; Misty of Chincoteague; books from The Chronicles of Narnia; From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

What you'll do:

Read to your kids -- even if they're old enough to do it themselves. Classics, of course, make for great family reading, but so do somewhat spooky stories (or very spooky stories, if your kids are older). And so do silly stories... okay, just about any kind of book can make a great read-aloud choice. But do focus on books that, even if they're short, have compelling stories and good writing that will engage the listener. Don't just plow through the book -- pause, let the kids ask questions or look over the pictures, reread a part that you can tell they didn't get the first time. And don't think that just because they've closed their eyes, they're bored or falling asleep -- they may just be letting the words work their imaginative magic. And don't forget to listen yourself.

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