A Book in One Hand and a Popsicle in the Other: The Joys of Summer Reading

By Annie Lyon, The Langley School Head Librarian

It should come as no surprise that I always loved summer reading. My school required that we read specific books, and some of my now-favorites came out of those days. I felt connected to voracious reader Francie Nolan in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca hooked me from its famous first sentence. My love for gothic literature came from experiencing Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I would finish the books during the first few days of June, and then read them over and over again as September approached. 

Here are some tips for enjoying summer reading as much as I did.


Look at summer reading as a challenge, not a chore. Your child(ren) should choose books at their ability level that appeal to them – not books they feel they “should” read, but books they may have always wanted to read, that sound interesting, that were recommended by their peers, or that looked cool on the shelf. (You have my permission to judge a book by its cover.) Graphic novels? Yes. The new page-turner about brain-eating purple skeletons from Mars? Yes. Yet another book about cicadas or the Titanic or baseball? Yes. Let them roam free through the library or bookstore, gravitating toward what intrigues them. If they’re excited about what they’ve picked up, they’re doing it right.

And, Langley families, as a reminder: suggested reading lists and other resources can be found on the Summer page of MyLangley.

Don’t feel bad about adding incentives. Summer is meant to be fun, and reading programs are no exception. Whether they’re offered by the local public library or Pizza Hut’s “Book It!,” prizes after fulfilling a season’s worth of reading sweeten the pot. That’s bribery, pearl-clutchers might gasp, aghast. Not at all. Doesn’t everyone deserve a reward after working toward a goal? And awards aren’t just for the readers. Arlington County, for example, will donate $1 for each program completion to the Arlington Food Assistance Center. See? Everybody wins. 

Encourage reading anywhere and everywhere. I asked Ms. Geraghty’s first-graders where they would most enjoy soaking up their summer reading books, and boy, did they deliver. Here are just a few of their ideas:

  • in a comfy bed while it rains
  • on a sunny day under a shady tree
  • in the bathtub
  • on a porch with a nice cup of tea
  • somewhere relaxing
  • in an airplane
  • sunbathing with calming music 
  • sitting with your brother or sister

(Surprisingly, no one said “on the toilet.” If you read on the toilet, that is a perfectly acceptable place and you don’t have to tell anyone. But you can if you want to.) The point is, like the books you choose, all that matters is that you are comfortable and happy.


Read together. You can take that recommendation one way and all sit around, family members with their own print or e-books, reading together. It’s a lovely communal activity. Or you can actually read together, out loud; don’t forget that youngsters of all ages love to be read to. For primary school students, hearing new words actually helps wire their brains. For older ones, the time together builds connection

Have a wonderful summer! May the cool breezes find you in a comfortable perch, with a tall glass of something cold, reading a book that takes you anywhere and everywhere you want to be. 

What Kind of Person Would We Like Our Graduates to Be?

By Ayesha Flaherty, Head of Enrollment and Communications and Parent of Current Fifth- and Eighth-Graders

When you walk around The Langley School campus, you notice almost instantly that there is something special about our students. They open doors for you and others, they approach you with confidence, they impress you with a curious question or thoughtful statement, and they smile and giggle. But what lies underneath these actions? Continue reading

Nothing Short of Extraordinary

By Noelle Mendez-Villamil, Langley Parent and Chair of the Parent Association of The Langley School (PALS)

As we approached the beginning of this academic year at The Langley School, parents, students, staff, and faculty felt a wide range of emotions. We were excited about the possibility of reopening the school or having access to a robust distance learning program. We were anxious about our children’s ability to keep a mask on during the entire school day. We were happy about the flexibility that Langley offered us to choose what would be the best learning medium for our family. And more importantly, we made a commitment to everyone in our community to do our very best to keep each other safe. Some of us thought the school reopening would last just a couple of weeks. I think all of us hoped that our kids would be able to stay in school at least through the Thanksgiving break. Well, thanks to all of you, we have made it to Thanksgiving! Continue reading

What Even Goes On in Preschool?

By AnnMarie Rudd, Preschool Teacher at The Langley School

“What even goes on in preschool?” It’s a question I often get, not only from prospective families, but also from my closest friends and family members. It’s a question I’ve heard too many times within the past eight years of teaching preschool. And no matter how many times I hear this particular question, it always makes me stop and think, “Well, what doesn’t happen in preschool each day?” Believe it or not, our days are filled with endless possibilities as our students lead their learning in experimenting and discovering new wonders during their first year at The Langley School.

Continue reading

The Things That Haven’t Changed for Primary School Students

By Anna Shiroma, Early Childhood Curricular & Instructional Specialist at The Langley School

This year there have been lots of new changes to the classroom. Desks are spaced six feet apart, students use individual crayon boxes, and face coverings are worn throughout the day. But there are many things that haven’t changed. The Langley School’s intentional and aligned academic program, balanced with social-emotional learning, is still thriving throughout the classrooms (in person and virtual) every day!

Continue reading

Staying Active During These Unusual Times

By Patty Dokken & Karina Bond, Physical Education Teachers at The Langley School

Children need a balance of structured and unstructured physical activity time in order to sustain habits which lead to lifetime fitness. And since our physical health and our mental health are closely connected, it’s especially important to keep kids active during this time of COVID-19 restrictions and isolation. Continue reading

A Graduate’s Reflections for the Class of 2020

by Claire Coker ’19

While it is unfortunate we’ve had to make adjustments due to the present pandemic that include online school and modified end-of-year celebrations, I cannot express enough empathy for The Langley School’s graduating class of 2020. Continue reading

A Day in the Life of Three Langley Teachers During Distance Learning

A Special Thank You During Teacher Appreciation Week

During this time of distance learning, The Langley School’s students, parents, and teachers are balancing new ways of working, learning, and interacting as they partner to bring the Langley experience to life from home. In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we salute our amazing faculty for their flexibility, creativity, and dedication as they adjust to this new method of teaching while providing our students with meaningful, engaging lessons. Continue reading

What Does STEAM Really Mean?

By Emily O’Grady, STEAM Teacher at The Langley School

It’s been about 20 years since the acronym “STEAM” was first used, and by now, we all know what it stands for. But what does it actually look like in schools? What does it mean for the curriculum? These are questions I get asked all the time when I tell people that I’m a STEAM teacher. The truth is, there’s no single neatly-packaged answer many schools have their own approach to STEAM education.  Continue reading

The Intentional Planning That Goes Into Play at Langley

By Anna Shiroma, Early Childhood Curricular & Instructional Specialist

“Play is the highest form of research.” -Albert Einstein

As you prepare for the winter break and some unstructured time with your kids, I wanted to share a few examples of how play comes alive in The Langley School’s Primary School classrooms. This might give you ideas not only for your children, but for you as well. The research on play is clear: when children (and adults) engage in play, it strengthens our neural pathways!

Continue reading