+

1. "Summer Slide." It sounds fun, but it's not what you think!

Ooh, like a water slide? Who doesn't love a water slide?

But nope. "Summer slide" is the backslide that happens when a kid's learning activities stall out for three whole months. Sociologists say the summer slide compounds over the years of a child's schooling and is a main factor for big differences in achievement between students from low-income and high-income families.


Not the kind of slide we like, is it? Quote via Reading Is Fundamental.

2. This highly scientific reason from my teen son:

"When I read during the summer, I have more time to get lost in the book and luxuriate in it. I get to read for the love of reading, and not for an assignment, not on a deadline. Summer reading has been the path to me actually loving reading."
— Axel, son of Angie Aker

And he's not wrong, according to Alfie Kohn, a critic of strictly regimented reading:

"Nothing contributes to a student's interest in (and proficiency at) reading more than the opportunity to read books that he or she has chosen. But it's easy to undermine the benefits of free reading. All you need to do is stipulate that students must read a certain number of pages, or for a certain number of minutes, each evening.

When they're told how much to read, they tend to just 'turn the pages' and 'read to an assigned page number and stop,' says Christopher Ward Ellsasser, a California high school teacher."

If we want reading to become a lifelong source of joy, letting kids truly pick their own material and time and place for it is key.

When your hands fall asleep from holding up a book you're engrossed in. That. Photo by SpiritFire/Flickr.

3. Free books for kids in grades 1-6!

It's a pretty sweet deal from Barnes & Noble. Here's how it works:

  • Kids read ANY eight books. Yes, ANY eight books, and they can be from the library or home or wherever.
  • They fill out this brief log (no book reports, no allotted amount of time).
  • They bring it in to Barnes & Noble and pick out a free book from the list.

If you can help a kid truly love reading, you can open up an entire world of possibilities for them. All the knowledge they need to do anything they set their mind to is in a book somewhere, just waiting for them to find it.

That moment when your eyelids are too heavy to read one more word. Photo by WoodleyWonderWorks/Flickr.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

Keep ReadingShow less

Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

Keep ReadingShow less