Start with a Book

Ricky Rocket

Books and activities for summer reading and learning from Reading Rockets

Start With a Book

Summer Science

Reading and writing happens across the curriculum, including the sciences. This summer, strengthen children's literacy, inquiry, and problem-solving skills — and connect kids with high-quality nonfiction and informational books.

River Rangers! A book-based science adventure

Explore, read, play, invent, build and learn — all about water and the rivers and streams in your community. River Rangers is a 5-day program that connects books and writing with hands-on activities and other active learning opportunities. Our downloadable toolkit has all the resources you need for your summer program or at-home learning.

Get the River Rangers Toolkit here >

DIY science camp: weeks of fun and learning!

Parents and summer program staff! Looking for ways to bring more science into your summer learning activities? We’ve got some cool ideas for warm summer days. Choose a topic below, then explore the hands-on activities. You'll also find recommended fiction and nonfiction books plus theme-based apps and websites to deepen the learning. (Find lots more books and activities by browsing our complete library of Science, Nature, and Math themes.)

Begin your adventures by selecting a topic below!

Literacy in the sciences tip sheets

Making Predictions

Scientists, just like readers, make predictions all the time. Help kids to see the connection between what they can do as readers and what they can do as science explorers. Here are two simple ways to encourage kids to put their prediction skills to work.

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Patterns and Categorizing

Children begin using their senses to recognize patterns and categorize things at a young age — skills that play an important role in early learning, including word study, science and math. This tip sheet provides some simple activities to help build pattern recognition and categorization skills.

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Recording Observations: Journals and Field Notes

Science and math explorations provide growing readers with a chance to strengthen observational and record-keeping skills by keeping a special journal to fill with sketches, notes, and graphs. Try these ideas to get started.

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Recording Observations: Capturing and Sharing Images

Young kids love technology, gadgets, and nature! While parents may be looking for ways to reduce screen time for their kids, here are a few helpful suggestions for integrating simple technology and books into your outdoor adventures in a fun and educational way.

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Beat the Heat with Your Weather Page

Summer's temperatures often send kids and adults inside to cooler air. Here are a few tips to make the most of those hot afternoons with some literacy and math fun using only your newspaper, computer, or other household items.

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The Night Before the Museum

Day trips, vacations and special outings create special memories and great learning opportunities for families. Here are a few "stops" to make before your visit to help children get the most out of a family or school educational experience. .

Nonfiction for kids

Getting the Most Out of Nonfiction Reading Time

Nonfiction books give kids a chance to learn new concepts and vocabulary, as well as broaden their view of the world. Learn how to take a "book walk" with a new nonfiction book and how to model active reading.

How to Read Nonfiction Text

Many children love to read about science and nature as well as real people, places, and events. Nonfiction books present information in engaging and interesting ways. Help kids learn to navigate all the parts of a nonfiction book — from the table of contents to the diagrams, captions, glossary, and index.

Finding Great Nonfiction Books

Of course, Start with a Book has lots of great nonfiction titles — just browse our themed lists! Public and school librarians are a great resource for helping identify high-quality nonfiction books, for any interest or reading level. There are also many excellent online resources. Here are a few of our favorites:

Summer adventure tracker

Learn all summer long in your own community! Track your learning adventures with our downloadable map and log sheet. Match your adventures with our Start with a Book themes — and find lots of related books, activities and apps to extend the learning.

Download your adventure tracker >

Summer book tracker

Log and rate all of your summer reading!

Download your book tracker >