By Lana Turnbull
Summer is just around the corner, and parents, you know what that means! If you haven’t already made plans for how your kids will spend their time, it’s a good time to start looking at the options. We all want summer to have that laid-back, spontaneous feel of the summers we remember, but we can also make sure our children will return to school in the fall enriched by their out-of-school experiences. There are numerous options for activities that respond to your child’s interests, as well as their strengths and weaknesses, that will help them re-enter school in the fall better prepared and ready to meet new challenges.
Avoid the Brain Drain
• Talk with your child’s outgoing teacher about the summer. If your child is weak in writing, reading, or math, seek advice on how to address these areas without making it feel like “summer school.”
• Check the school website for information about the next year’s curriculum. See whether there are ways you can incorporate some of it into summer plans. For example, if your child will be studying the solar system, make a point of visiting the planetarium.
• Find out whether your school has a recommended summer reading list. Reserve the books at the library or buy them so your child will have what he needs to get started right away. Make time for your child to read and prepare a special “reading” spot that is comfortable and safely away from distractions like television and video games.
• If your child’s school does not have a reading list, reserve books that match your child’s interests and reading level.
Knowing your child’s interests is the first step to finding the right summer enrichment program or programs.
• Is your child an athlete? Look into sports specialty programs.
• Is your child a nature lover? Look at day and overnight camps as well as programs offered by institutions such as the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, or Lynn Meadows Discovery Center.
• Does your child love the water? Consider sailing camp or programs working with marine animals such as those provided by the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies.
• Is your child interested in other countries? Look for programs with language or cultural exploration.
• Is your child a born performer? Consider a performing arts program including design, dance, music or filmmaking.
• Is your child a budding philanthropist? Community service-centered programs may be the answer.
The state’s public and private college and universities are excellent sources for a variety of enrichment camps and activities. You may also check with your child’s teacher and the guidance counselor from his or her school for other activities that are available.
Great Choices for Summer Reading
The following is an age-appropriate reading list. You can’t go wrong with these children’s classics, many of which are award winners. They are also perfect for reading aloud, so don’t hesitate to join your child for some one-on-one time with a great book.
Across the Alley
by Richard Michelson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis
Adèle & Simon
by Barbara McClintock
The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County
by Janice N. Harrington, illustrated by Shelley Jackson
For You Are a Kenyan Child
by Kelly Cunnane, illustrated by Ana Juan
The Giant and the Beanstalk
by Diane Stanley
by Kate Banks, illustrated by Boris Kulikov
Mr. George Baker
by Amy Hest, illustrated by Jon J. Muth
Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything
by Lenore Look, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf
You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short
Stories To Read Together
by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Michel Emberley
A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L’Engle
by E.B. White
by Jacqueline Woodson
James and the Giant Peach
by Roald Dahl
by Esther Forbes
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
by Kate DiCamillo
My Side of the Mountain
by Jean Craighead George
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
by Mildred D. Taylor
Sarah, Plain and Tall
by Patricia MacLachlan
The Wind in the Willows
by Kenneth Grahame
Check with Mississippi colleges and universities…
For information about summer enrichment programs – from sports camps to performing arts workshops, and so much more.
Alcorn State University, Alcorn State/Lorman
Delta State University, Cleveland
Jackson State University, Jackson
Mississippi State University, Starkville (main campus)
Mississippi University for Women, Columbus
Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Bena
University of Mississippi, Oxford (main campus)
The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg (main campus)
Coahoma Community College, Clarksdale
Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Wesson (main campus)
East Central Community College, Decatur
East Mississippi Community College, Scooba (main campus)
Hinds Community College, Raymond
Holmes Community College, Goodman
Itawamba Community College, Fulton
Jones County Junior College, Ellisville
Meridian Community College, Meridian
Mississippi Delta Community College, Moorhead
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Perkinston (main campus)
Northeast Mississippi Community College
Northwest Mississippi Community College,
Senatobia (main campus)
Pearl River Community College, Poplarville
Southwest Mississippi Community College, Summit
Private liberal arts colleges
Blue Mountain College, Blue Mountain
Millsaps College, Jackson
Rust College, Holly Springs
Tougaloo College, Tougaloo
Private colleges and universities
Belhaven University, Jackson
Bryson University, Columbus, Mississippi
Mississippi College, Clinton
Mississippi College School of Law, Jackson
Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson
Southeastern Baptist College, Laurel
Virginia College, Biloxi, Mississippi
Virginia College, Jackson, Mississippi
William Carey University, Hattiesburg