Summer Learning- Literacy

Just because your child’s school closes the door for summer doesn’t mean that your child’s education should take a “summer vacation”.  It is crucial that your child read or be read to throughout the summer so that everything that they learned at school this year is not lost.  Reading Rockets provide a brief article about “Summer Reading Loss” which includes research that indicates,  “Our research with 116 first, second, and third graders in a school in a middle class neighborhood found that the decoding skills of nearly 45% of the participants and the fluency skills of 25% declined between May and September. Lower achieving students exhibited a sharper decline than higher achieving students.”  (Click here to read more research on Summer Reading Loss).

Here are some quick tips to keep your children reading and learning this summer:

  • Visit your local library or bookstore.  Most libraries and many book stores offer Storytime for young children where a librarian or volunteer reads books to the children.  Even in the summer, try to keep a schedule for your kids and go weekly if it’s available.
  • Bring books with you (both for you and for your children).  It’s important that children see you reading as well. By modeling book reading you are demonstrating that reading is fun and something that you value not just something you are pushing  them to do. With nice weather, bringing a few books with you to the beach, pool, or park will allow your children some time to read in between other activities.
  • Schedule reading into your daily routine.  If your children are old enough to read themselves, schedule half an hour of reading a day when the entire family sits down to read (parents too!).
  • Set goals for your child’s reading.  Together with your child, select 10 books that your child will read between the time that school gets out and when your child starts up again in the Fall.  After each book is completed, have your child do a mini-book report where they write down what the story was about, draw pictures, and reflect on what they liked about the story.
  • Select books related to vacations. Select books that will get your child excited about your vacation and that you can use as talking points when you are on vacation.  For example, if you are going to Boston this summer, get “Make Way For Ducklings” by Rober McCloskey and then make a point to go visit the duckling statues in the Boston Public Garden.
  • Book Club Play Dates.  Just like parents form book clubs to get together with friends and discuss books, schedule summertime book club play dates with your child’s friends.  This makes reading fun and helps your child associate reading with something fun.  Let your child and her friend select the books they are going to read together when they meet up each time.
  • Get Creative.  Traditional books aren’t the only things that can help children develop and improve their reading:  books on tape, ipad reading apps, literacy developing TV programs also help develop literacy skills.   SuperWhy, WordGirl, and Between the Lions are all literacy focused TV shows that also offer online games and activities to improve literacy.  Some literacy apps include: StoryKit where you can create your own storybook with your child.  WordWord has ebooks that can read to your child and are based on their shows.  Also create your own books, have your children create stories about their summer vacations, activities, and camps!
  • Check out Readingrockets.  It has wonderful resources for fun ideas to keep your kids reading all summer.  They include a 2011 Summer Reading List that provides wonderful age-appropriate book suggestions for your child.

Additional Resources:

Reading Tips for Parents:  Reading Rockets provides quick and helpful Reading tips for parents of Babies, Toddlers, Preschoolers,Kindergarteners, First Graders, Second Graders, and Third Graders!!!

Empowering Parents: Reading Rockets Parent’s Guide (Scroll down to the middle of the Page).  Reading Rockets provides a wonderful PDF that helps parents build their child’s reading skills at home.  The guide begins by explaining that Parents are a child’s first teacher and offers easy tips to help your child become a reader!

Toddling Toward Reading Video: Reading Rockets provide a great video narrated by Reba McEntire about the importance of parenting laying the foundation for their children to read.

Learning to Read and Write: What Research Reveals: Reading Rockets provides a wonderful review of the extensive research on how young children learn to read and write and the important ways in which parents and teachers can aid in this crucial development.

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