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For Grades K-4 , week of July 12, 2021

1. Love Letters

When disaster strikes, even the smallest gestures of support can make a difference. In the state of Florida, firefighters and other first responders are getting support from children as they seek to recover victims from the collapse of a condominium building in the town of Surfside. The support is coming in the form of handmade thank-you cards created to let the responders know how much their efforts are appreciated. The idea for the thank-you cards came from Florida State Senator Lauren Book and her 4-year-old twin children, Kennedy and Hudson. When they heard of the disaster, Kennedy and Hudson wanted to help. Book told them to follow the advice of TV’s Mr. Rogers and “look for the helpers,” the Washington Post newspaper reported. Together, they started making thank-you cards for “helpers” working to recover people hurt at the Champlain Towers South condominium. Some of the workers were moved to tears when they got their cards. “We can heal wounds with Band-Aids, but we heal the soul with love,” one said. “And there is nothing more pure than the love of a child.” Children, teens and young adults often give help and support to people who are doing special things or facing difficult challenges. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about someone doing this. Then create a thank-you card for this person and write a message telling them how much their effort is appreciated.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.

2. Living Her Dream

It’s often said you should never let go of your dreams, even if they don’t come true right away. They may come true later than you expect. That was certainly the case for 70-year-old Gwen Goldman, who had a 60-year-old dream come true this summer thanks to baseball’s New York Yankees. She got to serve as a bat girl for the team six decades after being turned down because she was a girl. Growing up in the state of Connecticut, Goldman has always been a Yankees fan, and in 1961 — at age 10— she wrote the team asking to be a bat girl for a game. Bat girls, and bat boys, retrieve bats after players hit, and return them to the dugout, among other tasks. But the Yankees general manager in 1961 wrote Goldman that “in a game dominated by men a young lady such as yourself would feel out of place in a dugout,” even though “we agree with you that girls are certainly as capable as boys.” Goldman kept the letter pinned to a bulletin board, and this summer her daughter Abby sent a copy to the Yankees. Current general manager Brian Cashman decided to grant her long-delayed request at a Yankees game with the Los Angeles Angels. Goldman got to dress in Yankee pinstripes, throw out the first pitch, take the lineup card to home plate and exchange fist bumps with players on her special night, the New York Times newspaper reported. “It’s been an amazing opportunity,” Goldman said. Cashman said that “a woman belongs everywhere a man does, including the dugout.” Gwen Goldman had her dream come true when the Yankees invited her to be a bat girl for a game. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another person who had a dream come true. Use what you read to write a paragraph telling how the dream came true and how you think that made the person feel.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

3. The Greatest

In the world of hotdog-eating competitions, Joey Chestnut is the greatest of all time. No one can eat more hotdogs than he does. This summer Chestnut demonstrated his unusual skill once again to win his 14th championship in the yearly Fourth of July hotdog-eating contest sponsored by Nathan’s hotdog restaurants. Chestnut gobbled 76 hotdogs in 10 minutes to easily win the contest in the beach community of Coney Island, New York. Chestnut’s eating feat was a new record for the world famous event, topping the 75 hotdogs he ate last year. By comparison, this year’s runner up ate just 50 hotdogs. Chestnut first won the contest in 2007 and has won every competition except one since then. He holds more than 50 eating records. Others include: 7.61 pounds of Buffalo Chicken Wings in 12 minutes; 55 glazed doughnuts in eight minutes; 141 hard-boiled eggs in eight minutes, and 121 Twinkies in six minutes. People try to set new records in many ways. Some are for serious feats and some are silly. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about someone setting a new record. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor telling how the person’s effort could inspire others to challenge themselves to meet a goal. With friends, talk about a goal you would like to meet, or a record you would like to set.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

4. Super Slide Ride

In the summer months, kids and families love to cool off and have fun with the popular water toys known as slip-and-slides. Now sliders in the state of West Virginia have built a slip-and-slide that has produced the longest ride ever. On the Fourth of July weekend, a slider at the Canaan Valley state park took a ride that covered 2,021 feet for a new Guinness World Record, UPI News reported. The ride, which covered nearly 4/10s of a mile, broke the old world record by more than 14 feet. Another rider at the event set up on a hillside also broke the record, by sliding 2,007 feet. “We thought what better way to celebrate Fourth of July than to make the world’s longest slip-and-slide and break the Guinness record [in] the USA,” a spokesman for the event said. Slip-and-slides are popular toys for summer fun. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories and ads involving other toys for summer fun. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend, describing two toys you would like to try, and why.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

5. Summer Reading

Summer is a great time to improve reading skills — and you don’t have to go to the library to do it. You just have to look for ways to practice reading in everyday life. The Internet and newspapers are a great source of reading materials, of course. But so are the words and sentences you encounter on billboards, restaurant menus, product packages, movie descriptions or instructions on how to assemble toys. When you encounter such things, look for words that are interesting or descriptive, or words you don’t know. Keep a list for future use, or to share with friends. You’re building vocabulary and keeping your skills sharp at the same time. Finally, keep a log of the things you read on the Internet and social media and in newspapers or magazines. There’s no such thing as bad reading, and in summer you can read whatever you like! For each item, write a complete sentence stating the thing you liked the most about it, and why.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.