Professor Stork

Summer Reading – Sit Back and Smell the Pages

The long school year is finally coming to an end. Everyone, parents, teachers, and children alike are elated and exhausted at the same time. Children and their parents and caregivers are all looking forward to some down time and part of their preparation includes gathering up all the wonderful books they had planned on reading during the past year, and dusting them off for summer reading.

The list of books is long for parents and caregivers is extensive, and for children the list is even longer since they are likely to have been given summer reading lists from their teachers.

But before you dive head first into that first book, remember summer reading is meant to be a pleasure trip, not an assignment, and it’s important to sit back and bring the pages of each book to life. If you are reading on a bench in a beautiful flower garden you can take time to smell the roses at the same time. If you are on a beach, remember to take time to inhale the sea air as the pages unfold in front of you.

As you read, don’t simply visualize the characters as they act out their roles on the pages of each book, join them on the stage where they perform. Stand at their side and walk in their shoes. Try to figure out decisions they are going to make before they make them. Get to know them on a deeper level than you might when reading a book for a school assignment or to write a book report.

Friend or foe, each new character you meet will have much more to offer than the words you read on the pages. Take the time to think about the characters, do you know people like them, are they people you would like to be friends with, or people you want to stay as far away from as possible? Do they change over the course of the book? If so, for the better or worse. In every great book characters develop throughout the course of the story and hopefully they are stronger and wiser at the end of the book – and so are you!

When you’re reading, don’t just close your eyes and picture the setting where the book is taking place, as you read, go there. Walk the streets, enter the houses and other buildings, hike the mountain paths, fish the streams and get to know every nook and cranny. There are so many places you learn about in books, cities and countries and rural areas and small towns, places that you may want to see first hand in the future. Make a mental note of that, so when the time comes to travel you have ideas where you would like to go. Take enough time with these pages that they aren’t lost to you days or weeks after you finish your book, parts of them can stay with you for a lifetime.

Another thing to think about is that when you finish a book ask yourself what life lessons were learned as you read. Did anything in the book you read change the way you look at the world around you, or clarify questions you might have had? Did you learn anything interesting or meet people with personalities you’d never come across before? Did your mind open up just a little bit to possibilities you’d never previously considered?

Finally, one Professor Stork reading rule is that every great book deserves a day of rest and further thought once it is completed and before you start your next book. Spend a bit more thinking about the location where the book took place. Enjoy a few more hours hanging out with the characters who in a very short period of time started to mean so much to you.

Summer is not the time to be racing to finish as many books as you possibly can – it’s the time to enjoy the journey each and every book takes you on to its fullest. New places, new friends, untold adventures and personal growth are what books have to offer – take advantage of them while you have the time.

Dictionaries define a pleasure trip as any trip where the purpose of the trip is given as visiting friends or relatives, rest or relaxation, meeting new people, seeing new places, sightseeing, or enjoying outdoor recreation. Reading a great book definitely fits snugly into this definition.

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