Read this post on reading

Summer is slipping away. Have you had a chance to read as much as you hoped? If you hurry, you still have time to snag a book from The New York Times summer reading list. You can find the list here.

For summer and beyond, don’t forget to turn to local sources for inspiration:

–Visit the library! Before you do, it can be fun to learn what Kalamazoo Public Library staff are reading and recommending. Just go to their Staff Picks: Books.

–Visit one of our fabulous independent bookstores: Kazoo Books, Michigan News Agency, and Bookbug / this is a bookstore. Bookbug / this is a bookstore staff also regularly post what they are reading. Here’s what Shirley Freeman (who also volunteers with CIS!) has been reading.

–Read The Cyberlibrarian Reads, a wonderful blog by Miriam Downey, a retired librarian who is also a proud KPS grandparent. Miriam, who also co-edited the anthology Immigration and Justice For Our Neighbors, (a project we blogged about here last year and includes works by students from Arcadia Elementary School) read The Journey by Francesca Sanna at the anthology launch to the grownups and kids in attendance. In one of her more recent posts, she blogs about reading Sanna’s beautifully illustrated new book, Me and My Fear, with her granddaughter. You can read her post here.

–Ask your neighbor, your kid, your friends what they are reading! We asked a couple CIS board members and here’s what they said:

I’m reading a few books at the moment. Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, Elizabeth Sherrill, and John Sherrill, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson, and A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.  -Dominic Pullo

Just finished Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. Very interesting!  -Susan Einspahr

I am reading Love Does by Bob Goff. -Sara L. Williams

Happy reading!


What is the CIS Board Reading in 2017?


We know it’s important for kids to read. But we shouldn’t forget, it’s also important for our 12,000+ kids that they see grownups reading too! What have you been reading this summer? A few months ago, we asked Communities In Schools board members what they are reading. Here’s what some of them said:


I am currently reading Centered Leadership by Joanna Barsh. I attended a Johnson and Johnson Women’s Leadership Initiative and heard Joanna speak. I loved her stories and the research she has placed into this book.

-Jen Randall


QBQ! The Question behind the Question by John G. Miller.

-David Maurer


Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

-Patti Sholler-Barber


I am reading two books right now:  Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow and Never Caught by Erica Dunbar.

-Pamela C. Enslen


Lab Girl by Hope Jahren.

-Janice Brown


I’m actually reading the Kalamazoo Community Read: Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

-Tony McDonnell


Looking for more ideas for summer reads? Check out the JULY 2017 INDIE NEXT LIST, which is recommendations from independent booksellers.



Eleven Tips To Beat The Summer Slide


Finally. Summer is here. But taking a “break” from learning during the summer months is hazardous to a student’s education. According to the National Summer Learning Association more than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning activities. Summer reading loss is cumulative. Children simply don’t “catch up” in fall when they return to school. Their classmates who read over the summer are moving ahead with their skills. By the end of 6th grade children who lose reading skills over the summer are two years behind their classmates. Here, in no particular order, are eleven tips for grown ups to help kids stay on the path to success over the summer months:

1.  Take advantage of our fabulous public library! Visit the library often and let kids pick out their own books. They are the best experts about what they like. Studies have shown that students who read recreationally out-performed those who don’t. Students read more when they can choose materials based on their own interests.

2.  Make sure they (and you!) sign up for the Kalamazoo Public Library’s Summer Reading Program.

3.  Check out the “Kids & Parents” section of the Kalamazoo Public Library’s website, which features great tips for parents and caregivers, upcoming events, as well as staff picks for books for both parents and kids.

4.  Be a reading role model.

5.  Read as a family.

6.  Talk to kids about what they are reading and what you are reading.

7.  At a loss for what to read? Check out what KPL staff are reading and recommending. I also adore The Cyberlibrarian Reads, which is a blog by a retired librarian, lifelong reader, and local Kalamazoo resident, Miriam Downey. You can also check out this fascinating list of titles on the TED blog to see what Bill and Melinda Gates and others are reading this summer.  After looking it over, I think I’m going to read one of Clay Shirky’s picks, “It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens” by Danah Boyd.

8.  Visit the Bookbug, an independent bookstore located at Oakwood Plaza. Stop down on any Thursday at 10am for Storytime, Songs and Activities.

9.  Let your child read their way to a free book. Stop by Barnes & Noble and pick up one of their summer reading sheets. Children read eight books (they don’t have to be purchased from Barnes & Noble) and then return with the completed sheet to choose a free book.

10.  Last June, Julie Mack shared five strategies Superintendent Michael Rice suggests parents adopt to help build their child’s reading skills over the summer. Refresh your memory and read it here.

11. Tune in every Tuesday and read the latest post at Ask Me About My 12,000 Kids!