As summer vacation is upon us, it’s a good idea to keep in mind the dangers of the “summer slide.” Summer vacation should be packed with fun and adventure, but also needs to reflect the educational priorities you have in place for your child.
Summer Learning Loss
We’ve discussed at length the effects of summer learning loss on students which can lead to a decline in their reading ability. This summer, The Tenney School wants to encourage you to maintain a regular reading schedule with your students throughout the vacation to keep them on track for a new school year.
Summer is a critical time for students to continue reading, and keep their language skills improving. This is especially true for students in higher grade levels. Teachers interviewed by the US Department of Education noted that practicing your reading is very similar to practicing an instrument; if you stop playing over the summer “you’re not going to be as good as a person who continues to play the instrument over those three months.” In this way, reading is a skill, just like any other skill your child is learning and should be consistently practiced and also praised.
Lots of studies have been completed in recent years, showing that reading loss is a significant problem across all socio-economic groups, and students who read over the summer can combat that loss drastically. In just ten minutes of reading per day over the summer, students can begin the 2019-2020 school year on the right foot.
The National Education Association (NEA) offers some great ideas to keep your kids reading over the summer. Including:
- Let your child choose their own books because they will be more engaged in reading a book of their choosing.
- Give children a positive reinforcement or a reward for completing reading minutes. This does not need to be a tangible item but can be related to other children’s activities, ie. If you finish your reading minutes, we will all go outside to ride our bikes.
- Read together as a family either aloud or all read individual books at a designated family reading time. Allowing your child to see you reading too goes a long way to promoting a pro-reading environment in your home.
- Read about family activities: for instance, if you’re going to the beach read a book about collecting seashells or fish.
- Read the morning newspaper.
- If you have older children in your home, every member of the family could read the same book so that you can, later, discuss it together.
- Play word games like Boggle or Scrabble. Alternatively, other games which allow children to read cards, prompts or trivia questions can also be helpful.
- Design a challenge amongst your children for who can read the most books/pages/minutes this summer.
- Listen to audiobooks on road trips. You can download a couple for free on Audible.com
- Sign your children up for local library programs or reading challenges in your neighborhood.
Reading during their summer break may not be a top priority for students, but The Tenney School wants to work hand in hand with parents to help make it a priority for everyone this summer break. Summer reading is pivotal to your child’s success for the next school year. Studies suggest that the impact of reading just 4-5 books over the summer can prevent a decline in reading proficiency from Spring to Fall. “Furthermore, children who reported easy access to books also read more books.” More books equal more learning growth.
Questions about what books would be good choices for your student this summer? Feel free to give us a call to ask, or visit your local library for excellent suggestions.