Many parents have heard the scary-but-true statistic that children who do not read over summer break can lose up to two months of reading achievement. According to Reading Rockets’ review of 13 empirical studies on summer reading loss, over time, this can create a compounded achievement gap of 1.5 years before a child has even reached middle school.
The good news: it’s not hard to curb summer reading loss. With a little effort, you can help your child continue to strengthen that “reading muscle” and prevent the dreaded summer slide so that when the next school year begins, he or she is ready to hit the ground running. Here are five tips to build those literacy skills this summer:
- Set a daily minutes goal. Goal-setting gives children ownership of their learning. So, incorporate reading into the summertime daily routine and have your child set a goal of minutes to read each day or week. Make it fun by combining reading time with cookies and milk, or making a pitcher of your child’s favorite summer beverage and reading “al fresco.” Maybe you can start a new family tradition to all read together in a comfortable spot in the house before bedtime. Whatever you do, make sure you send the message that reading is a relaxing, rewarding activity, not a chore that must be checked off a task list.
- Keep a “summer memories” journal. Writing and reading are essential, interconnected skills, so it’s valuable to encourage children to write over the summer too. If you have a tough time convincing your child to start penning novellas or essays about summer, a subtler way to hone those writing skills is a summer journal. Have your child jot down the events of each day, record the stops on your family road trip, or write real-time observations of daily life in your home over summer vacation. If your child gets really into it, consider letting him or her create a blog on a free or inexpensive platform like Squarespace or Wix.
- Focus on a subject of interest. For some children, a new hobby or interest sparks exploration. So, if your child isn’t eager to read novels, try digging into topics that do get him or her excited, exploring books, websites, blogs, and magazine and newspaper articles on those topics. Fueled by curiosity, your child will end up reading more than he or she would otherwise.
- Talk about it. You can enrich your child’s reading time by talking about the books he or she is reading as well as the characters, plot, plot twists, and what your child thinks will happen next. Express interest by asking thoughtful questions that help your child think critically, reflect and improve comprehension.
- Share with others. Your child might also want to share what he or she is reading with other kids, which is exactly what young readers do on Scholastic’s Share What You’re Reading Think of it as a book review and recommendations website for children. Your child can share his or her own reviews and check out other children’s reviews as well.
If your child wants to catch up or get ahead this summer, call Huntington. Now is a great time to fill in any gaps in skills so that your child has the reading and writing aptitude to succeed in all subjects. Call 1-800 CAN LEARN today for more information about our literacy skill-building programs and summer reading program, Reading Adventure.
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