Want your kids to read like a future president? Start here.
Summer is upon us! In many parts of the country, camps have been canceled or gone virtual. Swimming lessons are on pause. Parks are closed. Museums are shuttered. Libraries are keeping away the crowds. Vacations have been postponed. What’s a homeschool mom to do? Do the unstructured days ahead have you panicking? After all, our kids need something to keep them engaged and occupied during the long summer days.
We do hope you plan to shelve your regular curriculum—at least for a little while—this summer. All moms need space to regroup, reorganize, and reflect.
Even so, you still need to give your kids something to do. Even if your kids can’t compete in your local library’s summer reading challenge, the good news is that they can still keep reading. Reading well, often, and widely is a prerequisite for success in school and life. It should absolutely not stop over the summer. Plus, reading keeps your kids learning and provides structure to fill those long days ahead.
At Silverdale Press, we help your family to learn about the presidents. If you haven’t grabbed your free lesson on the presidential primaries from our Presidential Election Unit Study 2020, the long summer days ahead would be a great time to try it out. In our curriculum and unit studies, we also help your kids to form the habits of great leaders and citizens. Reading is one of those habits.
Reading is always a good idea. This summer, why not start by putting together a book list for your children? Use the list to read aloud together as a family. Or have your kids read through the list on their own, during a morning or afternoon quiet reading time.
A President’s Book List
Do you want to come up with a book list but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry. We have you covered. In our high school language arts curriculum, Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers, we train your kids in the habits of the great writers of Western civilization. Great leaders, who were also great persuaders, were also great readers, thinkers, and writers.
As president, John F. Kennedy wrote some of the most well-known speeches in American history. In 1957, he even won the Pulitzer Prize, one of the highest awards given to writers, for a book he wrote on courageous leaders.
“Before we were married, whenever he [John F. Kennedy] gave me a present it was usually a book. History. Biography.” -Jacqueline Kennedy
Kennedy was a great reader. According to his wife, Jacqueline, even during his busiest campaign seasons, he would make time for reading. “He’d read while walking, he’d read at the table, at meals, he’d read after dinner, he’d read in the bathtub, he read—prop open a book on his desk—on his bureau—while he was doing his tie. You know…he’d open some book I’d be reading…just to devour it. He really read all the times you don’t think you have to read,” she said.
As a child, Kennedy was often quarantined at home, sick in bed. He used those long, home-bound illnesses to read. As a youth, one of his favorite writers was Winston Churchill, the great British prime minister.
Kennedy read a wide variety of genres. He read some fiction and a little poetry, mainly by Lord Byron. As for drama, he would pick up bits of Shakespeare. He mostly read history and biography, with a hefty amount of Civil War and British and American history.
“He was looking for something in his reading. He wasn’t just reading for diversion. He didn’t want to waste a single second,” his wife said. Kennedy was searching for lessons in history or at least a good quote.
Every Sunday, JFK would rip out the book review section of the newspaper and put an “X” over the books he wanted his wife to buy. She would place her order at a local bookstore in Washington, D.C.
So, without further delay, we present to you a president’s book list. These book ideas are based on President Kennedy’s reading habits as a boy and young man. If you want your kids to read like a future president, this is a great place to start.
Notice that we’re not recommending specific books. We think that it is best for your kids to have a say in what they read. They are more likely to buy into the book list if they have a say in shaping it. So, for example, in choosing a biography, allow your son to choose a person that interests him. For a current issue, allow your daughter to choose something she’s passionate about.
A President’s Book List
Don’t forget to download your free lesson on the primaries from our Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 for homeschools and co-ops.
Click here to learn more about how to teach your kids the habits of great writers.
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