A summer reading project brought
to you by Reading Rockets

Start with a Book


Summer Blog: Read. Talk. Explore!

Join us for a summer full of adventures! Our guest bloggers will share how they use Start with a Book resources to dive into learning about new topics or dig deeper into things that kids already love. Go on a book-inspired scavenger hunt, start a family vegetable garden, learn about stars and the night sky, and more!

Map Fun: Creating a Visual Itinerary

August 30, 2016

This summer we traveled to France for a friend’s wedding and the Tour de France. It was a trip that included a long road trip with multiple stops. I thought a fun way to get the kids excited about the trip would be a map exercise: creating a visual itinerary to help the kids understand where we were going and what we’d be seeing. More >

Making Reading Connections with Themes

August 23, 2016

For more than 25 years, The Reading Connection (TRC) has been making sure kids get read to and have books of their own. Our organization is dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk children and families by helping them create and sustain literacy-rich environments and motivation for reading. This year our overall theme was superheroes — specifically how you can “be your own superhero.” Kids were encouraged to reflect and consider what their own superpowers were — because not all superheroes have the same powers! More >

Sun versus Shade Experiment

August 22, 2016

We live in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and it’s been hot. Really hot. And based on the weather reports we’ve seen this summer, much of this country has experienced at least one, if not many heat waves already. Addie and I have been reading about the topic of weather, and she was curious about how hot things can get under the sun. We decided to do a quick and easy science experiment to test the difference in the temperatures of objects sitting under the sun versus being in the shade using an infrared thermometer. More >

Do Architects Build Dollhouses?

August 15, 2016

When you ask my daughter Addie what she wants to be when she grows up, she’ll say a number of things, one of which is wanting to be an architect. When you ask her why she wants to be an architect, she’ll tell you that buildings come in all sorts of interesting shapes and designs. She may also mention that it’d be fun to build dollhouses. I wanted to help her explore the world of buildings (and dollhouses), so I tried out a framework for helping any child explore a job that they’re interested in. More >

Elevating Family Reading

August 11, 2016

A bunch of my teacher and librarian friends recently returned from a Reading Summit hosted by Scholastic. There, they spent a day talking about strategies to get kids excited about reading independently. I decided to host my own reading summit – at the kitchen table. The goal, I told my kids and husband, was just to figure out a few things that would get us excited about reading. What could we do that would get us reading more? More >

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go Olympics!

August 3, 2016

With the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics upon us, it was the perfect time to host our very own “Go Olympics!” event, and it also turned out to be a great activity to include our neighborhood friends in. The friendly competition gave the kids an opportunity to be active, practice good sportsmanship, and learn about inspiring athletes such as Wilma Rudolph. More >

A Summer Reading Scavenger Hunt

July 25, 2016

Set up a book-inspired scavenger hunt to help young readers discover new books and new genres — or look at an old favorite in a new way. Know a kid who loves books but doesn’t yet read? Start with favorite picture books, using drawings instead of questions so they’ll know to search for a ladybug, the moon, or a hairy, scary monster. Children's author Madelyn Rosenburg shows you how. More >

Catching Stars

August 18, 2015

In Carol’s final blog posting for the summer, the family embarks on another Start with a Book summer science exploration: The Night Sky. Unbeknownst to them, their exploration continues on in paradise, and wraps up at home in their own front yard. More >

We're Going on Five Planes!

August 10, 2015

Carol and her kids explore the topic of flight with a visit to the National Air and Space Museum. Their ongoing exploration of flight continues during their summer travels as they learn about Amelia Earhart, go on five planes, and make their own paper airplanes. More >

It’s a Tomato Warning!

July 16, 2015

Carol and her family share their gardening adventures. They learn the virtue of patience when it comes to gardening with some help from a book called And Then It’s Spring, and experience the satisfaction of growing their own fruits and vegetables from seed. More >

Madam President

July 8, 2015

Addie explores the idea of becoming President. With a visit to the Lincoln Memorial, and a candid “what if I were President” interview with her mom, we get to see the world through the eyes of a five and half year old. More >

Dear Mo Willems

June 30, 2015

Addie takes her mom on an exploration of her favorite author, Mo Willems. The exploration goes beyond his books and includes watching a Reading Rockets interview with Mo Willems and drawing him fan mail. More >

A Strawberry Farm-to-Table Adventure

June 25, 2015

Carol shares the delicious fun of strawberry picking at a local farm, and how a book and a Highlights magazine article lead to baking adventures in the kitchen with the kids. More >

A Bonfire, a Bookstore, and Whales: Our Cape Cod Adventure

June 19, 2015

Carol shares how she prepared for a beach trip to Cape Cod with a Summer Tip text, and discovers the fun of stopping by a local bookstore. She’s also discovering how the role of books in their lives is evolving, and making summer explorations more memorable. More >

We’re Going on a Bug Hunt!

June 11, 2015

Carol goes bug hunting with her three-year-old son Taylor, and realizes a great adventure can be had right at home, alongside bug-themed books and apps. More >

Our first exploration: money!

June 01, 2015

In Carol’s first blog post about her summer adventures with her kids, she uses the Start with a Book site for the first time. She shares the fun times (and mishap) they have exploring a topic Addie is learning about in school, money. More >

Meet Carol Shen

May 21, 2015

Meet Carol Shen, her daughter Addie, and her son Taylor. This summer, they will be sharing their Start with a Book summer adventures with us. Join the Shen family for a summer full of reading, talking, and exploring! More >

More great literacy resources for parents from Reading Rockets

Read Aloud Tips

Read Aloud Tips

Read aloud every day with your child and talk about what you're reading. These two simple activities help build your child's vocabulary and comprehension skills.

Get tips (In English and 10 other languages) >



Download these colorful ready-to-print lunch box notes, play date cards, and door hangers for the kids in your life.

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