Studies show that when kids don’t read over the summer, they lose core reading skills and fall behind when they return to school. Many wonder why children dislike reading, especially during the summer months. Children are not born with a natural antipathy towards reading. Many factors play a part in this loss of love that occurs between the time when children first encounter books to when they are expected to read for a purpose. The achievement gap between high -socioeconomic and low-socioeconomic students has long been a concern for educators and parents, and remains a concern in the educational community today. Summer reading slide refers to the decline in children’s reading development that can occur during summer vacation when children are away from the classroom and formal literacy programs (Allington & McGill-Franzen, 2003).
Access to reading materials has been repeatedly identified as an important element in improving the reading development of children. Time spent actually reading is the best predictor of reading achievement; the more students read, the better they become. (Allington, 2006; Anderson, Wilson, & Fielding, 1988). Families can set the stage for children’s continued engagement in literacy over the summer. Using the summer break as a time to inspire reading for enjoyment is a great opportunity for parents and caregivers to allow children to read fiction literature they choose and even explore non-fiction literature to learn about new and interesting topics. At the family level, the International Reading Association (1998) suggested that parents look for reading materials that relate to interests that a child enjoys, such as baseball, swimming, animals, or nature. Families may need to be assured that useful reading materials come in many forms. In addition to books, children's magazines may link to a child's interest or hobby.
Look for reading materials that relate to interests that a child enjoys, such as baseball, swimming, animals, or nature.
Some tips to encourage reading this summer are:
- Allow your child to choose the topic. Parents can make suggestions or seek out a public librarian for good resources.
- Read with your child(ren) or have them read to you.
- Have a meaningful discussion about what your child is reading. You do not have to ask “teacher” questions, but genuinely discuss what is being read.
- Have a set time for reading for the family.
- Allow your child to see you reading and enjoying it. It can be something you have to read or something you read for work, church, for a class, and as always it can be something you simply enjoy.
Be a model for your children by allowing them to see you reading. Visit your local public library or you area Barnes and Nobles Bookstore for reading challenges that can earn rewards and free books. Feel free to binge on a summer reading fest!
**Let's Book Summer Slide will be the first in a series of blogs written by Louisiana Educators this summer, with tips and tricks for fighting summer learning loss with your child.**
Mraz, M. and Rasinski, T.V. (2007). Summer reading loss. The Reading Teacher, 60(8). International Reading Association. 784-789.
http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/bridging-summer-reading-gap Anne McGill-Franzen, Richard L. Allington.(2003). Bridging the Summer REading Gap. Scholastic. Inc.