It’s Vacation! Why Bother Reading?
There is a ton of research that supports the importance of kids reading over the summer. According to an article published by the New York State Department of Education (NYSDE): Summer learning loss is devastating! Researchers have proven that when kids don’t read over the summer it leads to what is called the summer slide. That means that kids get rusty and forget precious skills that they have spent months learning and practicing. Reading skills are no exception. It takes practice to become a fluent reader.
According to the NYSDE’s article, “It is estimated that school summer breaks will cause the average student to lose up to one month of instruction, with disadvantaged students being disproportionately affected (Cooper, 1996). Researchers conclude that two-thirds of the 9th grade reading achievement gap can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities during the elementary school years, with nearly one-third of the gap present when children begin school (Alexander, Entwistle & Olsen, 2007). The body of existing research demonstrates the critical importance that the early development of summer reading habits can play in providing the foundation for later success.”
To read the entire article click on the following link: Importance of Summer Reading – NYSDE
7 Ways to Make Summer Reading Fun For Your Student!
There are many ways to keep your kids engaged in reading. Here are few suggestions to get summer reading in without it feeling like homework:
- Read with your child! – Studies show that kids will read more when they see their adults reading. So when you curl up with a book make sure your kids see you and you can enjoy reading together!
- Not all books have to have words! – Remember that reading doesn’t have to be just chapter books. There are plenty of picture books, non-fiction books, magazines, comic books, digital, and audiobooks that can all support building comprehension skills, vocabulary, and reading fluency.
- Get recommendations! – Kids often report that they have a hard time finding books that they like. If that happens, have them ask a friend to recommend a book. Your child is much more likely to enjoy something recommended by another kid.
- Too Hot? Go where it’s air-conditioned! – Plan regular trips to the library and make it a fun adventure. There are summer activities for all age groups planned at our local libraries. To see Natick’s summer library schedules go onto their websites: Morse Library and Bacon Free Library.
- Bookstores are just as fun as playgrounds! – Visit local bookstores for author events and story hours. Invite a friend to come too! Make the visit a treat by stopping for an ice cream. A great idea I read is to give kids a set amount of money (if you can) to buy a book of their choosing. Suggestion include: Wellesley Books, Barnes & Noble – Framingham
- Get into a friendly competition! – Kids are motivated to race against their friends. Have a friendly competition with a friend or join a more formal contest like the one put out by Scholastic every year. To join, go to the following link: Scholastic 2016 Summer Reading Competition
- Pack a book to go! – Summer is filled with fun activities. Vacations, long car rides, camp bus rides, floating on a raft, sitting on the beach…When you pack your backpack, make sure a book is included. It is a great way to fill the down time, relax, and unwind after a long hot day.
So Many Books So Little Time!
Summer reading should be all about fun and relaxation. Don’t worry that your child isn’t reading War and Peace this summer. Let them enjoy whatever book they find engaging. Summer is a time to just read for sheer enjoyment. As long as your child is reading, they are reaping the benefits. Choosing books can be challenging. How do you know what the correct level is? How will you know if it’s age appropriate? What is new and popular? Here are a few sites that I found that have great information to help you pick summer books you child will enjoy.
- Reading Rockets
- About Entertainment Book Lists for Kids
- Notable Children’s Books 2017 – Association for Library Service to Children
- Scholastic Books
- Non-Fiction Articles from ReadWorks.org
- Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge 2017
Writing Counts Too!
Writing also helps students retain literacy skills. Given the chance to write about any topic that is interesting encourages kids’ creativity. Writing outside of an academic classroom allows students to connect to things that speak to them. Give your student a notebook or journal and a box of colored pencils. Let them climb a tree, sit in the backyard, or any other place they find enjoyable and let them be creative. If they are stuck, here are some fun summer writing topics:
SUMMER WRITING IDEAS FOR KIDS– (imaginationsoup.net)
- Create a secret code and write a note to a friend for them to decode.
- Write an adventure story about a pet, friend, or sibling.
- Cut out words from magazines to write a poem.
- Write a story with a friend where you keep taking turns adding to the story.
- Rewrite an alternative ending to a story you have already read.
- Write letters to friends and family.
- Keep a journal about a vacation/trip that you are taking this summer.
- Write an “Ultimate How To Guide” for a topic that interest you.
- For younger kids, give them stickers to help them create a story.
It doesn’t matter what your child reads or writes as long as they continue to use their literacy skills over the summer. If they do, they will be in a position to hit the ground running in the fall instead of using precious time to get back up to speed. So grab a cold popsicle and a package of wipes, settle into your beach chair, and enjoy a good book….just don’t get the pages all sticky!
Jenn Dannin, M.Ed