Our children work so hard over the school year, there has to be some time for fun in the summer, right? Absolutely! However, we also have to make sure that summer time, fun time, and learning time make a connection. The number one question I get asked all of the time is what should I do to make sure my child doesn’t have a summer learning loss in Reading.
Most people would think that it is to just read. Fair enough, but we also want to make sure that they are having fun and there are a ton of ways to motivate kids to read in the summer. One way is to join a summer enrichment program at your local library. Your child will be rewarded for reading books and be given prizes and tickets to local fun places. The local library will also have fun programs that your child can take part in and grade level appropriate book clubs.
Another place that you can log your reading minutes for fun is Scholastic’s Read for the World Record. Last year students all over the world read for 4,031,939 minutes. I like that kids are working together to beat the world record. Schools that work together for this goal get featured in the 2012 Scholastic Book of World Records.
PBS Kids also has a summer reading challenge. If you submit your e-mail they will give you great tips over the summer to keep your child reading.
Why read over the summer? Is it really that important? Yes, it is. Did you know that 50-67% of the achievement gap is due to “summer reading loss”? Reading over the summer has proven to be a prevention to summer reading loss. Students who choose not read or are not guided/motivated to over the summer are two years behind their classmates by the time they enter 6th grade. In this day and age with budget cuts, schools do not have the resources to provide reading interventions for all of the students that are behind. Thank goodness there are useful tutoring companies out there that can help.
It is great to know that in this wonderful day and age that students do not just have to read chapter books in order for reading to count. Students can immerse themselves with a variety of different sources for their reading pleasure. For example, kids can read
- Recorded books
- Graphic novels
- Author Websites
- Science experiements
Choice is a huge influence in motivating children to read, so the more choices they have the better. Never make it seem like your child needs to read, just present the opportunities for them to read. As a parent one of the things that I do is go to rummage sales, pick out books that I know my kids will like and put them on their bed as a little surprise. The other day my daughter picked up one of these books and started reading it. She is on the final chapter.
Keep your kids reading and enjoy the summer with the most precious people in your world. For some additional ideas listen to Joanne Kaminski on the Total Education Show.