Today is the last day of school at MPS before the winter break and schools superintendent Dr. Gregory Thornton has issued some suggestions for family fun.
After suggesting some fairly pedestrian winter ideas (he's from eastern Pennsylvania, so cut him some slack!) -- sledding, ice skating, building snowmen -- Thornton circles back, as he should, to reading.
"Why not read together? There is time to start a chapter book and take turns reading it aloud," he writes in the letter posted on the MPS Web site. "The Milwaukee Public Library system has great options."
Thornton has some suggestions:
- "The Watsons Go to Birmingham" by Christopher Paul Curtis
- "Grandma's Gift" by Eric Velázquez
- "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" by Jeff Kinney
- "Sounder" by William Armstrong
- "The House on Mango Street" by Sandra Cisneros
- "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson
Those are great ideas, and I'm going to add some of my own, based on what we've been reading at home. Thanks to our child's MPS teacher, who reads chapter books with the kids at school each afternoon, we've left behind picture books for bigger, longer, wordier tomes.
- "The Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum (we've learned there were many Oz books by Baum, and we're currently on our fourth)
- "Charlotte's Web" by E. B White
- "Because of Winn-Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo
Like Dr. Thornton, we suggest a reading routine. My wife and I take turns reading a chapter each before bedtime. It means we both get quality reading time with our child and it mellows out the household vibe for the transition to bed.
"Kids like routines, and they will love that you schedule time with them," suggests Thornton. "Turn off the TV, ignore the phone and cuddle close on the sofa with a blanket."
He also suggests writing. Ironically, in a household led by two professional writers, this is something we could definitely do better on. And I'm adding it to my mental list of resolutions right now.
"Encourage your child to write holiday thank you notes, or a letter to the Superintendent. I love getting letters from students. Children as young as 5 or 6 can compose a letter," says Thornton.
"I will be reading and writing with my granddaughter this holiday break. I will think of you doing the same with your children. Have fun, everyone."
I would really like to see some parents or guardians actually join this challenge. Not only the reading part, but the writing idea. Make it into a creative writing of some sort - look online for "writing prompts" or "Holiday writing prompts" for ideas. Then have your child read them aloud; you would kill two birds by doing that (I admit, this is a teacher trick!).
Maybe parents could also use this free time to get reacquainted or have a first-time visit to the neighborhood library. It may become a habit. Or a new and improved afterschool hangout... I have never heard the words "library" and "bad influences" together in the same thought.
1 comment about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published June 29, 2015
Thanks to my co-worker Jill Jensen-Matelski, I saw this cool Summerfest 1970 poster that you can see above. She found it on the Facebook group "You know you are from Milwaukee WI if you remember..." My eyes immediately went to "Roland Kirk" and I was blown away. Then I saw Sly and the Family Stone, James Brown, Sarah Vaughan and so many other amazing acts.
Published June 29, 2015
As the 11-day music blowout we all call Summerfest was about to get underway, we caught up with the Big Gig's associate entertainment director Vic Thomas to get a peek behind the scenes.
Published June 28, 2015
How on Earth does one explain the ongoing success of The Flaming Lips? Don't get me wrong, frontman Wayne Coyne and company make interesting and engaging music and put on a hell of a show, but since when has that been enough? We found out Saturday night at Summerfest.
Published June 27, 2015
Saturday night marked Maritime's first big Milwaukee gig since it released its paean to its hometown, "Milwaukee," in April. So, did Brew City turn out to return the love?
Published June 26, 2015
U2 is in the midst of an eight-day, five-gig run at the United Center in Chicago as part of its iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour. We went down to have a look and a listen.
Published June 24, 2015
Living rock and roll legends the Rolling Stones took the stage at the Marcus Amphitheater Tuesday night for what may well be their last Milwaukee appearance. Here's what happened when the Zip Code Tour steamed into 53202.
Published June 23, 2015
When Paul Weller came to Chicago's Vic Theater last week I had to go. And, because Weller is so defined by Britishness, I decided to make the jaunt an English themed trip.
Published June 23, 2015
Word emerged today that Top Shelf Guitar Shop in Bay View sold the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards a guitar.
Published June 22, 2015
Milwaukee is lucky to still have so many beautiful 19th century and early 20th century schoolhouses - designed by the most respected and talented Milwaukee architects of their day. But some have also been lost to time, thanks to fire, demolition or replacement. Here, excerpted from my 2012 book, "Historic Milwaukee Public Schoolhouses" - and augmented with a few more "bonus" gems - are 11 lost Milwaukee schoolhouses.
Published June 19, 2015
Tis the season. Here, Bobby Tanzilo scours the Big Gig schedule to make some suggestions for some must-see acts at Summerfest 2015.