Rest, Relax…and READ!
I love the Cesar Millan, “the Dog Whisperer.”
One reason I do is because he insists on dogs being in calm states of mind before he will give them what they want, be it a treat, their food dish, or a nice long walk through the neighborhood.
I think the same values apply to humans, especially children: when they are in calm states of mind, they are able to concentrate so much better. Their behavior improves, their learning capacity increases, and they feel much more balanced, just as Cesar’s dogs do.
READING TO RELAX
At Grace Academy, we have certain summer reading requirements. As a classical school, we want to cultivate the love of reading as well as the ability to read good books. We don’t want books that will dominate the summer schedule, but rather ones that encourage kids to read and remind parents of the importance of reading.
Not only does it do wonders for the brain, but reading also takes us to a calm but focused state of being.
That’s why we can love a book but still fall asleep reading it! It’s not “boring,” but it allows us to enter a very deep relaxation that our busy lives rarely allow.
We need to have regular times when we enter this relaxed state of being. And the same is true for children.
ENJOY IT, NO NEED TO RUSH
With reading, I like to remind parents that each child progresses at their own rate. So don’t feel anxious if your child takes longer to finish a book or reads less over the summer. Simply cherish the fact that your child is reading!
It’s not a competition, and you don’t want your child to pick up on your anxiety and develop a fear of reading; instead, books are to be experienced and enjoyed.
Reading together further provides needed relationship building between a parent and child. Just as Cesar points out that long walks with a dog fulfill their primal need to migrate and follow a leader, so, too, does reading fulfill a deep need in children to explore their imaginations, learn about human behavior, experience the structure of a well-crafted narrative, and appreciate the uniquely human power of language!
Summer reading is not “school at home.” It is an opportunity to enjoy one of the truly amazing human capacities: to plunge into a book, read until you fall asleep, and then wake up and continue reading!
SUGGESTIONS FOR SUMMER READING
You may find some good book suggestions from our Grace Academy of North Texas summer reading lists. They are formatted for being printed as brochures, so don’t let the layout confuse you! Enjoy!