Learn All Year Long
ReadWriteThink has a variety of resources for out-of-school use. Visit our Parent & Afterschool Resources section to learn more.
Summer Trading Cards
- A favorite summer book
- Trading Card Creator interactive tool
- Create Trading Cards for Favorite Characters activity
- Paper and pencil to make a list of "real-life" characters
- Help the child select a summer reading book he or she has already read. It could be one that was assigned by the child’s school or a book the child selected independently. If no book comes to mind, begin by helping the child select a book to read. Hint: Go to the library or favorite bookstore and check out their summer reading displays.
- Familiarize yourself with the interactive Trading Card Creator tool and the Create Trading Cards for Favorite Characters activity. Use these exercises to create a trading card of the favorite character from the book. They provide a process for examining a character: how the character looks, what he or she says, and what thoughts and feelings the character has. The child may need to refer back to the book to fill in all the blanks, including:
- What does the person look like?
- Where does the story happen?
- What is the character’s personality?
- What are the character’s most important thoughts?
- What is the character’s problem in the beginning of the story?
- What are the most important/memorable things the character says?
- What did you like/dislike about the character?
- Who does the character remind you of?
- Next, ask the child to list people from real life who could be featured on a character trading card. Mom, Dad, siblings, grandparents, anyone is fair game, including a sports hero or favorite entertainer. Again, use the Trading Card Creator online tool and Create Trading Cards for Favorite Characters activity, but this time with the real-life person. To come up with enough material to fill the card, the child might need to interview the person (if it’s a relative or friend) or look at published interviews with the famous person.
- Once both character cards are finished, brainstorm with the child to come up with a story where the two characters meet. Where will they meet? Will they like each other? What will the story’s conflict be? How will the story end up? Pump up the story’s energy by adding a third or fourth character.
- Don’t forget the artwork. The cards allow space for a picture of the character. With book characters, encourage children to do more than copy the character’s appearance on the cover. Look to the book’s description of the character and have the child imagine what he or she looks like. With real-life characters – like Uncle George – pull out the photo album for inspiration.
- Older children or younger child with a guardian's permission can proudly display their work on social media outlets by using #RWTsummer.
- Local craft or hobby stores often sell albums for holding collectibles. As a reward and incentive for creating Trading Cards, pick up an album for the child’s growing collection.
- When “real-life” character cards feature family or friends, consider giving them copies as a gift.
- For fun, fill out a trading card profiling the child. Do they have a favorite saying? Time to quote them!
Once you’ve finished your Trading Card, use the saving capability within the interactive tool to save the file.
- On the final screen of the interactive, click Save Final.
- Name your file something that is descriptive of your Trading Card, and click Save.
- Select a place on your computer or external drive to save the file, and click Save.
- For more information about the saving capability, see our RWT ReView: Saving Work With the Student Interactives.
- With guardian permission, share photos or videos of completed work via social media sites by using #RWTsummer.
- Congratulate the child on publishing his or her work, and click through other children's Trading Cards to comment--or to find inspiration for a new project!