Create a 'staycation' using books

How to have a family staycation via a trip to your local library:

Books are the greatest, simplest, cheapest way to help children escape on journeys of all kinds, even without leaving the couch! And the read aloud especially is a way for parent and child to come together intimately and also with a sense of discovery. These three books represent three different kinds of journeys parents can take with their children even when home budgets preclude an actual traveling vacation. And the sheer loveliness of a plate of cookies and a stack of books and you and your child together is as memorable as any fancy, fabulous trip could have been, maybe more so.

The Listening Walk by Paul Showers and Aliki represents the power of the simplest physical journey for our 2-4 year olds. The child and father walk in the neighborhood hearing and absorbing all the sounds of the world. A parent may ask: "What do you notice when we walk together?" "What other senses can you use to notice everything around you?" This book celebrates the quiet unhurried pleasures of being together and of being tuned in to the world immediately around us.

I Know a Lady by Charlotte Zolotow represents the power of the emotional journey of connectedness for our 4-6 year olds. It begins: "On our block there is a lady who lives alone." But she is someone who inspires the lives of those around her and the child finds that out by feeling that connection. A parent may ask: "Who can we talk to today who will share a story with us?" Or "What story might you want to share with one of our neighbors who may be lonely?" This book resonates with the quiet pleasures of reaching out, of reaching across generations, of finding magical people right in one's own backyard.

Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street by Roni Schotter represents the power of the imaginative journey for our 7-9 year olds. The little girl is asked to describe a day on her block and she writes: "Nothing ever happens on 90th Street.." Nothing, that is, until her imagination starts to run wild! This book helps children to feel the power of their own imaginations and their own potential to find adventure everywhere and anywhere, simply because they take their own imaginations wherever they go. A parent may ask: "What kind of story could you imagine telling about our block?" Or "Let's write down the most fantastical story ever about our neighbors and relatives!"

Buy the book on Amazon: What to Read When

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About Pam Allyn:
Pam Allyn, author of "What To Read When: The Books And Stories To Read With Your Child--And All the Best Times To Read Them." Pam Allyn is the Executive Director of LitLife. She is also the Founding Director of Books for Boys, a literacy initiative at the Children's Village, a residential treatment center and school for at risk boys ages 6-21.

Pam is the recipient of the James Patterson Page Turner Award for excellence in bringing literacy to underserved populations. She also recently received a Disney Points of Light Foundation Award for her work bringing books and literacy to children. In May 2007 The Children's Village presented Pam with its Legacy of Service Award for her tireless efforts to bring the magic of books and reading and companionship to kids whose path through life has been very hard.

Her personal quest to bring literacy to every child stems from a deeper desire to bring dignity to every child, and to empower children to read and write powerfully, effectively and with passion and delight. Her hope is that all children will grow up able to fulfill their dreams and leave their positive imprint on the world. Pam has started a not-for-profit, LitWorld International, Inc., to further this vision.

The daughter and granddaughter of teachers, Pam knew from a young age that she would be a teacher. A graduate of Amherst College, Pam received an M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University. For ten years, Pam enjoyed wonderful learning and leadership opportunities at the Columbia University Reading and Writing Project, first as a staff developer, and then as Director of Funded Projects.

Pam is a motivational speaker for audiences of teachers, administrators, librarians and parents on best practice methods for improving children's skills in reading and writing, and has led seminars and workshops both locally and internationally. Her first professional book, The Complete 4: How to Teach Reading and Writing Through Daily Lessons, Monthly Units and Yearlong Calendars, was published by Scholastic in November 2007. Pam has followed up that book with a series of grade level books chock-full with day to day lessons called The Complete Year series published by Scholastic in 2008 and co-authored with her wonderful LitLife colleagues.

Pam is the author of an inspirational and practical book for parents and caregivers called What to Read When due from Penguin in spring 2009. Pam is also featured in the recently released LitLife DVD The Window and the Mirror: Best Practice Methods for the Teaching of Writing K-2, which is an innovative look at how to link writing lessons to writing conferences.

Pam is on the advisory board of the Dream Charter School in Harlem, the Leadership Council of Global Action for Children, the Advisory Board of the Amherst College Center for Community Engagement and the English Language Arts Scope and Sequence Advisory Group for the New York City Department of Education.

She lives in Hastings on Hudson, New York with her husband Jim and two daughters Katie and Charlotte, as well as their dog Emily Dickinson and cat Eleanor Roosevelt.

Pam's upcoming appearances:

June 22, 2009
Book Passage in Corte Madera

June 23, 2009
Laurel Books in Oakland

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