Summer is here again, and Inner City-Inner Child (ICIC) is ready with another round of early childhood books to recommend for summer reading! We are excited to kick off this season with Skip through the Seasons, by Stella Blackstone with illustrations by Maria Carluccio and published by Barefoot Books—a word-rich and action-filled journey through 12 months of seasons that begins with a jump into January and ends with a dance into December.
This is a wonderful book that you and your child will want to skip through together at least 12 times a year! Using vibrant images and repeated phrases such as “what do you see?” and “come along with me,” Skip through the Seasons invites young readers to explore a variety of sights, sounds, and pastimes associated with the months and seasons, such as sledding on a snowy hill in February, tossing a ball on a windy day in March, and enjoying a carnival on a starry, summer night in July. Each page also contains a host of related vocabulary words, such as puddles, umbrellas, and drainpipes for the rainy month of April.
Skip through the Seasons is a perfect match for ICIC’s Dancing With Books, an early childhood development program in which we use music, movement, and meaningful gestures to bring books to life and inspire in children a love of reading and learning. We have created original artistic content based on the story and words in Skip through the Seasons, including an up-tempo song with the same title. We also encourage children to create movements to capture their own seasonal experiences, such as sliding on ice, wading through water, and tossing autumn leaves. Watch our video to see how we use the arts to elevate the Skip through the Seasons in early childhood classrooms.
No matter what the season or the weather is, you can use the activities like the ones we recommended in our blogs last July and August to make the most of reading Skip through the Seasons with your child at home:
· Read. Reading a book with your child has proven social-emotional and learning benefits. Make it a priority to spend time reading with your child every day, if possible. Find a comfortable place at home or outside and give your child the joy of having your undivided attention. You don’t need to have expert reading skills yourself—only a willingness to spend time with your child and open a book together. You can read to your child, let your child read to you, or do both.
· Visit. Venture outside and encourage your child to identify as many examples of the sights, activities, and words in Skip through the Seasons as she or he can. For example, can your child identify anyone wearing earmuffs in winter, working in a garden in May, or carrying a lunchbox in September? Or perhaps your child can identify season-related activities in your neighborhood that differ from those in the book, such as splashing in a spray park or running to the ice cream truck.
· Experience. Encourage your child to relate the seasons and months to her or his own preferences. What is her or his favorite thing to do outside in winter? Does she or he enjoy making a snowball in January, riding a swing in summer, or wearing a Halloween costume in October? Or maybe your child enjoys some of the same activities as those in Skip through the Seasons, like having lunch outside on a blanket. Use this as an opportunity to help your child learn new vocabulary words to describe her or his favorite experiences.
· Sing, dance, and drum. You can see from our video how Inner City-Inner Child’s Dancing With Books program makes books come alive in early childhood early childhood classrooms through singing, drumming, and movement. You and your child can bring Skip though the Seasons to life at home by making up songs and dances based on the months and seasons, and tapping on any safe, hard, surface to create a drum beat.
· Make. Have your child make an original picture book using simple materials like plain or scrap paper, crayons, and a stapler. She or he can focus on one or more favorite pastimes from the “Experience” activity described above. Let your child draw the pictures freely, without correcting or criticizing your child. You child can do the writing, you can write words that your child dictates to you, or you can do a combination of both.
An Invitation to You
A blog provides only a glimpse of the joy that children experience when skip through the seasons with Inner City-Inner Child’s arts-based literacy programs. To learn more about how to support our work with early childhood education in DC, we invite you to watch our video and click here. In this and every month throughout the year, season’s greetings from ICIC to you and your child!
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.