Seattle's Child

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at-home reading

Cabin Fever Kids a great addition to at-home reading and learning

Listen to great stories and then discuss important questions.

Humanities Washington has taken an already great idea, its Prime Time Family Reading program, and compiled it into a digital storybook and discussion guide for at-home reading.

The idea was to “get kids thinking more deeply about life’s big issues,” with children’s literature as a jumping-off point.

This library-based, in-person program was transformed into the online Cabin Fever Kids program for the pandemic, with participants receiving a link to a video reading plus questions for discussion among children, parents, and teachers.

The discussions are rooted in philosophy, critical thinking, sociology, psychology and other disciplines.

For example: “Who gets to decide what a person can and cannot do? Is that fair? Why or why not? How do you know?”

The idea is to use situations from the book and compare them to real-life, personal experiences in an exploration of their own lives, their families’ lives and society itself.

Now, a year in, with many schools and facilities still closed, the next step was to compile the Cabin Fever Kids project into a single digital book. Each story’s questions are printable and designed for use in remote learning, home learning or bedtime reading.

Here are a couple of examples for at-home reading and discussing:

Story: “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble,” by William Steig, in which a donkey collects rocks, one of which grants wishes. The questions include: “If you had been in the same situation, what would you have wished for? Why?” “What would be the best kind of wish? The worst? Why?”

Story: “Catching the Moon,” by Crystal Hubbard, the story of a young girl in the 1930s who dreamed of playing professional baseball. The aforementioned questions about fairness apply to this story, along with: “Has anyone ever helped you accomplish something?” “How would you help someone else achieve a dream?”

The Cabin Fever Kids digital book has links to readings of the stories, plus library checkout information. Happy reading — and happy discussing!

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At-home reading

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About the Author

Julie Hanson

Julie Hanson is the website editor for Seattle's Child. She is a longtime journalist, South King County resident and mom to a 13-year-old girl.