Sense-able Summer Reading

I once ate my way through a jar of pickles while reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Getting my teeth and nose into that story got it up off the page and made it more real for me. Even today, the tangy crunch of a dill pickle takes me straight to the streets of New York, and the lessons I learned there, though Francie, about poverty.

If you want to triple the impact of your kids’ summer reading, peek over their shoulder when they’re curled up with a great book (from the stacks you have all over the place, no doubt, or—knowing you—from your assigned reading list!) and see where they are in the story. Then “sensorize” the scene by slipping an appropriate snack next to them, or an important object into their hand, or by playing music (quietly) that goes with that chapter.

It doesn’t take much – for instance:

Your kids will think you’re wonderfully in tune with their fictional worlds, which of course you are. You’ll create a sweet and bonding memory to be filed under “fun things my mom used to do that made me feel loved” (even sweeter if they’re reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). And you’ll be helping to give them a lifelong, sensory connection to reading great books.

All such good things!

The LitWits Kit for CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY by Roald Dahl - LitWits Workshops

Here’s to a beautiful summer of lying in hammocks and on docks and under tables reading wonderful, adventuresome stories made all the more memorable by YOU.


Becky (and Jenny)

Jenny Walicek

  • Tricia Hinely

    June 8, 2018 at 4:33 am Reply

    I love your story: two sisters who have a passion for reading and ideas on how to share that passion with others. I’m a grandmother who borrows your ideas for my book club.

    • Jenny Walicek

      June 8, 2018 at 8:41 am Reply

      Thanks so much Tricia! Welcome all grandmothers, and especially BOOK CLUB grandmothers! We’re so happy to hear that our ideas are useful for you. Is your book club for kids, or peers? Regardless, we’d love to hear an example of how you and your members have put our ideas to use!

  • Lisa Craddock

    June 8, 2018 at 7:56 am Reply

    As a homeschool mom, I love this idea of bringing the book “alive” through the sensory moments. When we studied WWII we ended with a dinner of Spam, beans, Hershey chocolate and Wrigley gum–all foods we had been reading the American troops, freed POWs, and even German villagers had been given by the American military. Ok, so the kids didn’t like the Spam (we’re mostly vegetarian and it was like nothing they’d ever eaten) but it was certainly memorable and I could see them connecting with the stories while we ate. : )

    • Jenny Walicek

      June 8, 2018 at 8:39 am Reply

      That’s a fabulous visual, Lisa – your kids are so lucky to have a mom like you, who makes everything relatable in fun, hands-on ways! and it’s so true, it makes a HUGE difference if it’s “from the book” and not just something Mom’s making you eat! Ick we hated Spam too, but because Dad ate it in WWII, we saw it as the food of courage, and could imagine ourselves in the trenches being grateful for it.

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