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Start with a Book

Ricky Rocket

Books and activities for summer reading and learning from Reading Rockets

Start With a Book: Books and activities for summer reading and summer learning

Summer Learning Toolkits and Guides

Start with a Book offers free, downloadable toolkits and guides to enrich summer learning at home or through summer youth programs.

Explore science, civics, multicultural stories, and more!

What you’ll find here:


Bird Buddies

Summer science: multicultural young children doing bird exploration activities

Explore, read, play, invent, build and learn — all about birds. Learn about the connection between birds and dinosaurs, fantastic feathers, finding food and hunting prey, bird brains, nest-building, bird songs, and how we can protect birds and their habitats. Take a daily bird walk, set up an observation station, and start a personal bird journal. Bird Buddies 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 Bird Buddies toolkit here >

Space Rangers

Summer science: multicultural young children doing space exploration activities

Explore, read, play, invent, build and learn — all about stars, our solar system, and space exploration. Space 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 Space Rangers toolkit here >

River Rangers

Summer science: multicultural young children doing river exploration and water activities

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 >

Meet the Trailblazers

book cover collage of multicultural biographies for children

Meet remarkable men and women of color who helped to shape our world. They pursued their passions despite racism, prejudice, poverty, and injustice. Many were born disadvantaged or had limited access to educational opportunities. Yet, they excelled. They were scientists, writers, poets, athletes, pilots, activists, dancers, musicians, inventors, astronauts, and more.

For 14 featured books, we provide reflection questions, hands-on activities, and writing prompts — to jump-start conversations, curiosity, and exploration.

Get the Trailblazers guide here >

We Are Storytellers: Exploring Multicultural Folktales, Fairy Tales, and Myths

road runner woodcut

Reading and writing go hand in hand. Explore multicultural folktales, fairy tales, and myths through shared read alouds and independent reading. Then try some of the writing, oral storytelling, poetry, mapmaking, and other creative activities featured here.

Get the Storytellers guide here >

Our Democracy: Government, Voting, and Active Citizenship

multicultural kids outdoors waving American flags

Learn more about what our local, state, and federal governments do, how our elections work, and simple ways to get involved as an engaged citizen in your own communities.

Books and activities also explore how social movements like the Voting Rights Movement produce change, and the leaders who pushed for those changes despite the odds.

Get the Our Democracy guide here >