The ICIC Guide to Summer Reading Fun (Part 2)

August greetings from Inner City-Inner Child! We wish a continued season of warmth, fun, and reading to you and all of the early learners in your life. It has been a pleasure to share with you some of our favorite ways to enjoy books with young children. This month, we feature two additional books that we use in our Dancing With Books program: Barnyard Banter by Denise Fleming, and The Sounds Around Town by Maria Carluccio.

We love these beautifully illustrated books, which encourage children to revel in the everyday sights and sounds in farm and urban communities. They use simple words, rhyming, and repetition to create a delightful chorus of noises that your child will love to re-create. Many of the words in these books may be among the first that your child learns to read.

Whether you live in the city, on a farm, or in the suburbs, you can use the same approaches that we highlighted in our July blog to enjoy these special books with your preschool child:

  • Read. Cozy up together—on a chair, rug, park bench, picnic blanket, or even a Metro seat—and read to your child. Reading to your child is a vital step in your child learning how to read. The time and attention you give your child make you the star of the show, so tap into your inner Broadway star and read with expression. Let your child read to you, too. Even if your child has not yet learned to decode words, your child can assemble words from memory or imagination to go with the pictures in the book.

  • Visit. Head to a zoo, park, outdoor market, or one of the other destinations featured in these books with your child. Take Barnyard Banter or The Sounds Around Town with you to compare and contrast the pictures in the book with the destination you are visiting. If possible, take photographs of you and your child at the site to remember your visit. Consider taking a snack or lunch, a blanket, and other books to read while you are there.

  • Listen. One of our favorite Dancing With Books activities is encouraging children to recall the sounds in their own neighborhoods, which may be the same as those in the book or different. The sounds of dogs barking, people talking, paper rustling, music blaring, and the wind blowing are all around us. Encourage your child to hear them and use his or her own words to name them.

  • Sing, dance, and drum. Through Inner City-Inner Child’s early childhood development program Dancing With Books, teaching artists bring picture books to life by using singing, movement, and musical instruments to amplify the words and themes in the book. Whether or not you are an artist or can carry a tune, you and your child can create your own songs and dances around the words in Barnyard Banter and The Sounds Around Town, and add a drum beat by tapping on any safe, hard surface.

  • Make. Have your child make an original book, using the sounds that he or she identifies in the above Listen activity. No fancy materials are necessary—just use plain or scrap paper, crayons, and a stapler. Let your child draw the images freely, without correcting or criticizing. You can either have your child do the writing, write words that your child dictates to you, or do a combination of both.


An Invitation to You

A blog cannot begin to convey the sense of excitement that children feel when Inner City-Inner Child’s teaching artists share Barnyard Banter and The Sounds Around Town in preschool classrooms. To learn more about how to support our early childhood development programs, we invite you to watch our video and click here. Keep reading!

For more than two decades, Inner City-Inner Child (ICIC) has supported early childhood education in Washington, DC through arts education programs and early childhood development training. We provide quality arts integration and early childhood development programs that serve low-income families in DC. ICIC also provides arts-focused professional development programs for teachers who work in early childhood centers and school-based early childhood education programs in DC. In addition, we engage low-income DC parents in child development activities that help them create learning experiences at home.