May Theme: Summer Reading
By Marcia Thornton Jones

Long summer days seem made for reading!

Some of my best memories include lying on a daybed on the screened-in porch that ran the length of my childhood home to read amidst the summer sounds of buzzing bumblebees, purring of distant lawn mowers, and the call/response of amorous crickets. So it makes sense that I have a mountain of books to read this summer.

Of course, I hope young readers out there will include a few of my summer-themed titles on their reading lists this summer!

I also have other ‘books’ on my ‘list’ this summer—the books I am writing and always…always…ALWAYS…my journal. In fact, whether young or old, writer or not, I encourage everyone to add ‘journal’ to their summer book list. Here are a few joy-filled ideas for filling your blank pages with summer doodles, musings, and memories!

Marcia’s Summer Journaling Topics
To Write, Draw—or BOTH!

  1. Make lists. List favorite things you do, adventures you want to have, family celebrations—then choose your favorites to elaborate by either writing, drawing…or both!
  2. Keep a laughter log. Journal about what make you laugh…and how you brought smiles to the faces of others.
  3. Collect. Make illustrated entries about birds, insects, flowers and other summery items that make summer feel like summer.
  4. Ephemera. Collect free and inexpensive items and paste/tape them to your journal pages. Then write a snippet about how it represents you and your summer.
  5. Definitions. Journal what makes summer SUMMER or what makes you YOU or your family uniquely YOUR FAMILY.
  6. Games. Write the rules and instructions for how to play your own made up game…then go play.
  7. Plays. Turn your favorite summer books into scripts…then have your friends help act it out.
  8. Maps. Where have you been? Where are you going? Attach maps to your journal pages…or draw them yourself. Don’t forget to map out less familiar terrain…like the journey to happiness, trips down memory lane, and the maze out of anger.
  9. Rewrite stories. Write what you think should’ve happened in books or movies—or write what might’ve happened if a character had only done something differently—or write what you should’ve written in your OWN story if only you had been brave enough.
  10. You-dles: Develop your own cartooning doodling style using simple shapes like circles for heads and triangles for bodies and rectangles for arms and legs. Then illustrate you and your summer events as if you were in a comic strip.

(for more writing tips visit


  1. Love these suggestions, I'm gonna give them a try. We try to usually do a little writing/journaling together over the summer. Plus lots of fun reading together. I love the You-dles.

  2. Great, Brenda! Be sure to let me know how out goes!

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  4. I love these ideas Marcia. Would you be willing to do a similar summer post for my blog?


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