"Wow!" I thought as I sat through another kindergarten graduation in 1988. "These children can read, write, add, and do all kinds of things! I really wish they would remember all these things when they walk into my first-grade classroom in the fall. I don't like having to spend the first six or eight weeks reteaching kindergarten. I wish they would remember . . . ."
The thought stayed with me as I finished the school year with my first graders. Some of the parents came and asked me for suggestions of things to do over the summer with their children. I gave my usual answers, but I wasn't very satisfied with them.
I knew that in many families both parents worked, and time was at a premium. They needed something that was very simple to do, or the parents would not follow through with it. I began looking for a better answer. I wanted some way to review all the important things the students learned in first grade that did not take too much time, equipment or money.
In the late 1980's I could not find anything to recommend. One book reviewed addition and subtraction. Another reviewed counting coins. Other books began too simply but then became way too hard. I could not find anything that reviewed everything.
So I sat down and started studying textbooks. What did the different books teach in first grade? I talked to second-grade teachers. I asked, "What things are most important for a child to know when they start second grade?"
From this information, I compiled three lists: Really Important, Important, Not Very Important. I showed the lists to second-grade teachers to be certain I had them correct.
Then I started writing a book. I decided to review math skills on the top half of each page and phonics/language skills on the bottom half. I also thought that children in busy families did not need more than one page per day to do. I put a thorough answer key in the back so that the work could be checked by anyone-Mom, big brother, Grandma, or the daycare worker.
As I designed exercises, I tried to make them as interesting as possible without turning them into games that reviewed little or nothing. I made certain that everything on the "Really Important" list was reviewed at least once every week. The things on the "Important" list were reviewed every one to two weeks. The concepts on the "Not Very Important" list were reviewed every two to three weeks as there was space.
After I finished writing Summer Book 2, I sent it to several publishers. I was told that they were not interested because had no idea how well it would sell since there was nothing like it on the market! Of course, there was nothing like it! That was why I wrote the book.
At that point, my husband decided we would publish the book ourselves. We did, and the Summerbook Company was started in 1989. Today we are still publishing the Summer Books. We have remained a family-based business committed to providing excellent educational products.
Many parents have told us how much they like the one-page-per-day format of the Summer Books. They also say that it is easy for their child to do the daily page in the car, at the beach, while waiting at the doctor's office or almost anywhere. Moms tell us that, after doing a little bit of work each day all summer, the children do their homework in the fall with far fewer complaints.
Children like having only one page to do; it seems like almost nothing to them.
Teachers have said they can really see a wonderful difference in the fall when a child has done a Summer Book during the summer. Students don't have to work nearly as hard during the first marking period, and their grades are usually quite high. Teachers have also said that the books really help new students from other schools prepare for their classes.
We hope the Summer Books and other items will assist you as you seek to give your children a quality education.
All of the people who write or choose products for Summerbook Co. are teachers and tutors. We think that those actually teaching children every day know what works and what does not. Because of our careful selection process by teachers and tutors, we are proud to stand behind all the products we offer.