Here in Oregon, school has just let out. The weather has turned from the unbelievable heat we saw at the end of May, to our typical cool and rainy June fare. But the fickle weather doesn’t bother me! The kids seem content to go to swim practice no matter the temperature, and my summertime reading habits are not dependent on clear skies. Summertime is my chance to re-center, to find the balance I need to be able to start the cycle again in the fall. And although there are lots of activities that feed that process – vacation, early morning runs, time with family, gardening – my reading material is an explicit and purposeful choice I make.
What’s in my stack to start the summer? Well, the newly organized Hello Foundation bookclub is reading The Whole-brain Child, by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson, and I’ve picked up the accompanying workbook. As I read, I’m enjoying the tug and pull between ideas for my own parenting, and thoughts to support my clinical kids. Although I feel like I’ve only just started, I’ve already found the handy-dandy Ages & Stages table at the back of the book that helps to make sense of how to apply strategies at different developmental stages. Gold.
For my first fiction selection of the summer, I’m reading Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman. Young adult fiction has historically been a fun way for my daughter and me to talk about tough issues and different perspectives. I think Challenger Deep will fit this need nicely, as it follows a high school boy through his descent into schizophrenic paranoia and delusions. Not sure if it might be too dark for my porch-swing reading… I’ll keep you updated.
Lastly, summer provides opportunity for more leisurely perusal of my local bookshops. This often ends with me in the children’s section, fantasizing about the therapy sessions I could lead with some new additions to my library. I’ll leave you with some criteria I use for narrowing the ocean of children’s books:
- I love to find simple, short books (that can fit in a 20-30 minute session!), but still have slightly more mature themes.
- My most used books in the therapy room are those that offer clear opportunities to talk – you almost can’t turn the page without explaining something or pointing something out! It could be the bird hiding on each page, or the little thing that’s wrong with each picture.
- And lastly, I snatch up books that have an obvious connection to one/several speech sounds (think Slip, Slide, Skate or “There are Rocks in my Socks,” said the Ox to the Fox for S-blends).
I use summer reading to bring my brain back into balance. For me that means continuing to use it, but allowing it to wander more widely (and enjoy more sleep!). What’s on your reading list this summer?