EXTON, PA / AGILITYPR.NEWS / December 08, 2023 / By Tiffany Frentzen, M.S. Ed.,
Seventh-Grade English Language Arts Teacher, Insight PA Cyber Charter School
As the holiday season approaches, the hustle and bustle of festivities may momentarily distract us from the value of quiet moments spent with a good book. However, as a teacher with over 15 years of experience, the past three as a Seventh-Grade English Language Arts teacher with Insight PA Cyber Charter School, I firmly believe that fostering a love for reading in students is an essential gift we can give them. That's why I am excited to share five strategies to keep the reading spirit alive in your home, as well as my carefully curated list of captivating books that promise to keep young minds engaged and inspired over the holiday break.
- Create a reading nook: Gather all the pillows and blankets and find a place in the home where your child feels most comfortable.
- Establish family reading time: Reading as a family not only encourages reading but also fosters togetherness.
- Visit the library or a bookstore: Make a trip out of reading and allow your child to choose the books that make them excited to read.
- Incorporate technology: Embrace the digital and look for e-books and audiobooks.
- Share your love for reading: Do you remember the book that made you fall in love with reading? Share it with your child and be a reading role model.
Books have the power to transport young minds to new worlds, spark creativity, and ignite a passion for learning. I hope sharing these strategies will help strike a balance between entertainment and education, making them ideal choices for the holiday season. Parents, I encourage you to explore these ideas and books with your children, whether independently or as part of a family activity. I believe these approaches will not only keep young minds engaged over the holidays but also instill a lasting love for reading.
In a world filled with distractions, finding books that both entertain and educate can be a challenge. But fear not, because this holiday season, I've selected eight books that cater to different interests, ensuring a perfect match for every reader.
- “Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson (Non-Fiction Verse, Grades 5-8) This powerful memoir, written in verse, takes young readers on a journey through the author’s childhood, offering a glimpse into the Civil Rights Movement. It’s a compelling and accessible introduction to historical events and personal experiences.
- “Restart” by Gordon Korman (Realistic Fiction, Grades 5-9) Gordon Korman’s “Restart” is a thought-provoking novel that explores themes of friendship, identity, and second chances. This engaging story follows a boy who gets a fresh start after an incident, encouraging readers to reflect on the importance of empathy and personal growth.
- “The Do More Club” by Dana Kramaroff (Book in Verse, Grades 4-8) A Jewish boy’s bravery and kindness are tested after an antisemitic attack on his middle school in this rousing novel in verse. Ever since twelve-year-old Josh Kline found an antisemitic note in his family’s mailbox in third grade, he has felt uncomfortable about his Jewish identity
- “I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai - Young Readers Edition (Non-Fiction, Grades 6-12) Malala Yousafzai’s inspiring story is presented in a young reader-friendly edition. This autobiography sheds light on the importance of education and the courage to stand up for one’s beliefs, making it an empowering and educational read for children.
- “Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution by Sherri Winston” (Contemporary, Grades 3-5) Inspired by real stories of Black girls fighting dress codes that discriminate against their hair and culture, beloved author Sherri Winston introduces a memorable character who finds her way to speak up for what's right, no matter what it takes.
- “Fish in a Tree” by Lynda Mullaly Hunt (Realistic Fiction, Grades 4-8) Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s “Fish in a Tree” tells the story of a girl with dyslexia who discovers her own unique strengths. This heartwarming and relatable tale promotes understanding and acceptance, making it a valuable read for students of all abilities.
- “Bugs Don’t Hug” by Heather L. Montgomery (Contemporary, Grades K-3) Playful contrasts between human and insect behavior will captivate young readers as they listen to the read-aloud-friendly text and view the alternating cartoonlike spoofs on human living and detailed bug environments. In one picture, a bug hides its eyes and exclaims, "Where's Baby?" to two excited baby bugs.
- “The Crossover” by Kwame Alexander (Verse Novel, Grades 4-8) “The Crossover” combines poetry and basketball in a way that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. Kwame Alexander’s novel explores family dynamics, friendship, and the challenges of adolescence through the lens of sports and verse.
As a resident of Perkasie and an Insight PA teacher for the past three years, I understand the importance of encouraging reading during the holidays. These recommendations are not just entertaining; they are educational, making them ideal gifts that contribute to a child's cognitive growth.
In the spirit of the season, let's embrace the magic that books bring into our lives and the lives of the young learners we nurture. Happy reading and Happy Holidays!
Note To Editors:
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Tiffany Frentzen - Education
Masters of Science Instructional Media, Wilkes University
Bachelors of Science Special Education, Elementary Education, Gwynedd Mercy College
Additional Certification - Middle Level English
For more information about Insight PA Cyber Charter School, please visit insightpa.k12.com or call 1.844.269.9230. For media inquiries or interviews with Tiffany Frentzen, please contact Bob Schiers at email@example.com or by cell at: 1.856.905.7851