Librarians know book recommendations cause books to magically fly off of shelves into the hands of children. Most often, kids get recommendations from their peers. But what if, this summer, your kids got some book recommendations from some friends, two generations up?
Think of some grandparents, neighbors, or friends from church, who might enjoy an extra connection with your child or perhaps there is a Skip-a-Gen Friend you’ve been hoping to connect with. This is your chance!
Here’s how to set up your child’s Skip-A-Gen Book Swap:
- Make a List of Skip-a-Gen Friends: Together, think of several adults two generations up, whom your child knows and enjoys.
- Invite: Make contact with each Skip-a-Gen Friend—either in person or by formal invitation—and have your child ask, “What were your favorite books when you were my age?”
- Find the Books: Check libraries or online sources for the books recommended by your Skip-a-Gen Friends. (On rare occasions, you might even be able to borrow some!)
- Your Child’s Books: Have your child prepare a list of their own favorite books from the previous school year. Perhaps their Skip-a-Gen Friend might like to read one or two! No pressure, but it’s a fun option.
- Sticky Notes: As your child reads, have a pad of sticky notes nearby. They can place sticky note messages on pages where:
- They have a question about some of the story’s details.
- They like a particular part of the story.
- There is a word they don’t understand.
- There is a fun read aloud section.
- Draw/Summarize: Ask younger children to draw a picture of their favorite part of the story, to give to their Skip-a-Gen Friend. Ask older children to prepare a summary, describing their favorite scene or character.
- Plan a Book Swap Celebration: When your child has finished reading their books, it’s time to schedule the celebration! This could be held at your house, at a park, at a coffee shop, etc. You might consider serving a treat that correlates somehow with the book.
- Celebrate Together: At the celebration, invite your child a chance to share her drawings or summaries, along with her sticky note questions. Invite Skip-a-Gen Friends to read a section of the book aloud—perhaps a section chosen by your child. And if a Skip-a-Gen Friend read one of your child’s book recommendations, invite them to share their impressions as well!
As children, the books we read shape who we become and how we think. So if your child reads the favorite book of a respected adult, they will now have this in common! What a special bond, and what a special way to spend the summer.