Summer vacation immediately sparks visions of beaches and barbecues. But, while your children are creating precious memories through fun and games, they could be losing the reading gains that they acquired during the previous school year if they do not continue to read throughout the summer.
Preventing the “summer slide” is a concern of all educators as we move into the summer months. I cannot encourage you enough to establish smart summer reading habits for your children when you consider the compelling reading research that overwhelming supports the importance of every child reading on a daily basis over the summer. One study revealed that children could lose up to three months of the reading gains that they acquired during the school year if they do not read or have someone read to them over the summer. Another study found that reading just five to 10 books over the summer can prevent reading loss! Perhaps the most alarming research found that struggling readers lose more ground over the summer than proficient readers if they do not engage in summer reading practices, and those losses create a wider gap between proficient readers and struggling readers. By the time these struggling readers reach middle school, summer reading loss can accumulate to a two-year lag in reading achievement!
By immersing your entire family in activities that involve reading, parents can create enthusiastic readers. Providing a print rich environment, being a reading role model for your children, and promoting a love of reading will lessen the “summer reading slide”, as well as ease the transition back to school in the fall.
Here are just a few of the many ways parents can “nurture and nudge” their children into rewarding reading habits this upcoming summer.
- Enroll your children in the Flint Memorial Library’s free summer reading program, “Dream Big, Read!” This theme kicks-off with the library’s ice cream social on Tuesday, June 19th from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Children who read the required number of minutes between June 23rd and August 10th earn a free admission ticket to the 2012 Topsfield Fair with a hot dog, soda, and two game tickets included.
- Visit the Hood School’s website for suggested summer reading books. The town’s three elementary reading specialists and the children’s town librarian worked together to compile these titles for you to read to your child, with your child, or for your child to read on their own.
- Enroll your child in the Red Sox Summer Reading Game sponsored by the Massachusetts Teacher’s Association to promote literacy. Massachusetts’ children, from kindergarten through grade 8, who pledge to read nine books and then submit their pledge cards, will be entered into a drawing to win a family pack of 4 tickets to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. Entries must be postmarked by July 16, 2012 to be entered into the drawing. (Pledge cards have already been distributed to all Hood School children.)
- Another summer freebie to take advantage of is to sign your children up for “Barnes & Noble Annual Summer Reading Program: Imagination’s Destination” where they can read their way to a free book between May 22nd and September 4th by reading and recording eight books on Barnes & Noble’s reading journal. For further details visit their website for Barnes & Noble book recommendations, reading journal, and summer reading kit.
- Visit www.salemstate.edu/education/mcba/ for a comprehensive recommended list of recommended reading. This website includes all the winners of the Massachusetts Children’s Book Awards for 2012 which were voted on by all Massachusetts’ fourth graders.
- Start a summer book club with your children and their friends and parents. Forming a book club is a fun, social way to encourage summer reading with follow-up discussions for parents and children alike.
- Create book baskets for the whole family and have them readily available around the house or ready to travel. Make it fun and include newspapers, comic books, children’s magazines, and crossword puzzles.
Remember, your primary goal is to keep your children reading throughout the summer. Look for fun ways to celebrate your family reading as you continue to promote a love of reading.
Last, but not least, I will be looking forward once again to Hood School families sending in their favorite candid summer photo(s) of your children and/or family reading. These photos will be showcased on the Hood School’s “Celebration of Summer Reading” bulletin board in the lobby when your children return to school in September. Please forward your photo(s) to email@example.com with your child’s name, new grade level, & new classroom teacher. It would be greatly appreciated if all photos could be forwarded, or dropped off to the Hood School office, by August 17th so that the bulletin board is completed to welcome everybody back to school in September.