How can I get my daughter reading this summer? I hate nagging her!

My son refuses to read with me.

What Jewish books can you recommend for young children?

My daughter really needs help practicing her reading. Is there anything available after camp?

In response to these and similar questions, SHEMESH staff ran book clubs for students for the very first time this summer.  Sixteen children participated in three leveled groups meeting once a week for six weeks. Generously funded by The Jacob & Hilda Blaustein Fund of The Associated, the children were introduced to a variety of Jewish literature while maintaining reading skills over the summer.  First graders read books that included: Sat on a Hat, Is it Shabbos Yet? and Feeling Better A to Z.  Through games and crafts, they practiced the names/sounds of the alphabet, blended and segmented sounds in words, read and spelled simple CVC words and practiced sight words in sentences.  Second graders read books like: Mendy of Siberia, Let’s Meet a Chaverim Member and Shorty Schwartz.  Reading and following instructions to complete a map, participating in a written scavenger hunt, and creating their own representations of characters using modeling clay and a variety of materials, were only some of the very exciting activities they enjoyed.  Students in the sixth-grade group read the humorous and wonderful book Sheva’s Diary and selected stories from Mrs. Honig’s Cakes: Summer Stories. Even the reluctant readers in the group couldn’t wait to find out how The New Girl ended.  The students practiced identifying character traits, identified, and used new vocabulary, learned idioms, and wrote diary entries of their own.

Here’s what parents had to say:

Adina enjoyed the relationships with the facilitators. She enjoyed feeling independent with her reading and ownership of her extra learning. She loved going and was sad when book club ended.”

The hands-on approach, love the projects, the creative teachers and the social part. Thank you for making reading fun!”

“It was a great extra program. The time of day was a bit difficult for me, but my daughter loved it!”

SHEMESH staff expressed great satisfaction in facilitating the program.  Chumi Millman, a Speech Language Pathologist running one of the groups said, “It was so wonderful introducing the students to Jewish characters and stories. I was so impressed with how hard the students were willing to work even at the end of the day.  The expression on their faces when we gave them the books to take home was priceless.  I know they just loved getting their very own books to read again and again!”  Faye Friedman, also facilitating a group said, “I really enjoyed reading the books along with my students.  They were so engaged and participated fully in the discussions.  I can’t wait to continue working with them again in the Fall!”