word a day: creating word conscious, word happy kids
Our very first day of the Smart Summer Challenge found us lazying around at home because Owen returned from swim and dive feeling really under the weather.
So while he caught up on some telly and gave his body a rest, Maddy, Cora, and I did some reading, puzzles, and organizing.
But before our plans hit the fan, we walked into the Smart Summer Challenge bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at breakfast time. We started our day with some fancy new words– a Word a Day, summer style.
Nothing nuts, crazy, or difficult–just a word a day from now until the end of the summer.
- A Word a Day: I know that tons of people do this, from classroom teachers to at-home parents, and in fact Roger Rosenblatt writes about how he does this with his grandchildren in his memoir (that I literally ugly-cried my way through), Making Toast.
I am too much of a planner to write a word on an index card every day, so I put mine in a document and added some pictures that will help my kids remember each word.
I‘m creating the A Word a Day Cards in sets of 10-14 so that I can add relevant words for our family. I hope to include new and fun words that we encounter in our summer reading books, movies, shows, and life in general.
The first set of A Word a Day Cards is here to download as a pdf if you’d like.
I printed these on cardstock–a mix of white, tan, and grey because that’s all we had left–and then I hole punched one corner. I connected them via a binder ring, and that’s it.
I used a bright blue ribbon to hang them right there in our kitchen so that our Word of the Day will be the first thing we tackle every morning–and something we revisit throughout the day.
I wanted to start with ‘aspire’ because the sentence I wrote dealt with summer reading, and I knew I wanted to begin some ‘official’ summer reading today. So at breakfast I said, Hey! Did anyone even notice our brand new, totally fancy wall hanging?
Owen glanced up from his Honey Nutters and said, I do! Hey! It’s right there.
I grabbed the cards and said, Yep. Here are our incredibly fancy Word a Day Cards. Each and every da y this summer, we’re going to rock out a new word so our brains stay sharp and so we can ‘wow!’ our friends and family with our advanced vocabulary. How cool is that? You are so lucky to have a mom who cares so much about you.
Our first word is ‘aspire’. Anyone ever hear the word used before?
Maddy said, I do! My teacher aspired me to write a story this year. He gave me great ideas and helped me. That’s aspire.
I know your teacher did inspire you to write your book this past year, but can you hear the difference between the word I said and the word you said? Listen: [Maddy's teacher] inspired you to write your book this year by teaching you strong writing skills and by helping you come up with a great idea.
Our word today is ‘aspire’. ‘Aspire’ means to have a strong desire to do something or attain something. You may aspire to be a doctor or a teacher or the President of the United States, or you may aspire to one day speak another language. Here’s a sentence to help make it more clear: I aspire to read at least 20 books this summer, and with hard work, I know I can do it.
Got it? Okay–now here’s the challenge: if you can find this word anywhere today–in a book, on tv, on a sign, anywhere–or if you use this word, you get an extra gem. Easy as pie.
Throughout the day we mentioned ‘aspire’--when we sat down to do some reading and I said, Remember, I aspire to be a busy reader this summer. I need help. Big-time. So let’s get started.
We also chatted ‘aspire’ when we were talking about what Maddy, Owen, and Cora aspired to be when they grow up. Maddy aspires to be in art school, Owen aspires to be a Mario Kart expert, and Cora aspires to have sparkly lip gloss and very long hair. Okay, so we can all dream, right?
Hello, Smart Summer Challenge Calendar–
with Post-It’s hiding our activities, it’s like a surprise every day to see what fun is to be had!
I did create a sheet–A Word a Day: Words to Include–that I’ll hang on our fridge next to our top-secret Smart Summer Challenge Calendar. The A Word a Day: Words to Include is a list where anyone can write a word they want me to include in our next batch of A Word a Day Cards. Hopefully, since we’ve got huge Word Girl fans over here, they’ll add some and I can add some, and we’ll all be more invested in the end.
Please join us for the Smart Summer Challenge, a six-week campaign where we all pledging to sneak in some sort of fun learning into our children’s summer days.
You can follow our calendar if you’d like, but you don’t have to. You can get really crazy, but you don’t have to do that either. It can be simple learning–even 5 or 10 minutes a day. Anything and everything counts.
Our goal is to show all parents that if we can do it, anyone can do it. And if we want our kids to do well in school and to enjoy learning about the world around them, we have to create a lifestyle of learning for our families. Join us!