School is finally out and now is the time for splashing in the pool, running in the yard, playing at the park and relaxing with friends. Summer is also the time to catch up and get ahead in crucial reading skills that might be lacking during the school year. Children who read during the summer months gain reading skills, while those who do not often experience learning losses.
Research has shown that the few months of loss in reading skills over the summer months compounds over the years; by the time children reach middle school, those who haven’t read during the summers may have lost as much as two years worth of achievement.
Trying to balance the busy, physical activities that the warm summer weather brings with quiet reading time daily is not an easy task for most parents. Some children welcome the idea of reading books during the summer months, while others, particularly weak or reluctant readers, will find this a tedious chore.
The good news is that if children read just six books over summer vacation, they will likely avoid summer reading loss! Try some of these tips to make sure your child’s summer reading goes smoothly:
- Set aside a consistent time each day for reading. Summer camps, play dates, and videos are all fun things kids like to do during the summer. However, by the end of the day, children may be too tired to pick up a book and read. When planning summer time activities for your child, remember to leave some time in their schedules for reading. Find a convenient time each day – before bedtime or over breakfast.
- Help your child select books at a comfortable level. If you are having trouble judging, consult your local librarian who is likely to be an expert in matching books to reading levels. Another great source is the Lexile Framework for Reading. This website will give you a Lexile Measure from a reading test. You can then look up books according to your child’s lexile measure. The website is: www.lexile.com. If your child makes 5 or more errors in reading a page of around 50 words – the book is too challenging.
- Become a reader yourself and lead by example! Read the newspaper at breakfast, pick up a magazine at the doctor’s office, and take a book to the beach or on your family picnics. If kids see adults around them reading often, they will understand that reading can be a fun and important part of their summer days.
- Read about your vacation destination before you go. Have your child read about your travel spots ahead of time and help plan the trip for you. If you go camping, explore the wildlife and scenery on-line.
- Read a book that is now a movie, and then take them to see the movie!
- Make sure to bring books on vacation, outings and errands to keep your children occupied and entertained with great stories. Pack books in your beach bag and picnic baskets instead of electronic game devices.
- Connect books with activities! Read a story that mentions something yummy to eat and then try out a recipe at home. Try some exotic foods from stories from other countries.
Karina Richland, M.A., E.T. is the Managing Director of Pride Learning Centers, located in Los Angeles and Orange County. A Reading and Learning Disability Specialist, Ms. Richland speaks frequently to parents, teachers, and professionals on learning differences, and writes for several journals and publications. You can reach her by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Pride Learning Center website at: