Teachers around the world are presenting their last round of lessons and packing up classrooms that haven’t seen students in months. One of the strangest school years in history is ending and Summer is almost here.
No doubt, most teachers will warn of the dreaded “summer slide”, which refers to the tendency for students to lose some of the gains they made academically over the school year. Educators often offer suggestions to help maintain learning in all areas, and almost always emphasis the need for kids to read regularly during the summer.
Over the last few months, educators have worked diligently to prepare and execute their lessons and serve students as well as possible in spite of distance learning. But, we all know, that for youngsters, nothing takes the place of the traditional classroom setting. I’m sure you agree that this summer it is more important than ever to ensure that your kids are reading on a regular basis so they don’t fall even further behind.
Bet you parents are shaking your heads yes, vowing that will happen for your kids this summer. It just makes sense and sounds so easy. How well I remember my own good intentions once summer rolled around. I had visions of our five kids, reading every morning before we went to the pool. When that didn’t happen, I would insist they read before dinner, before going out to play, before bedtime. Somehow, it never quite came off the way I expected. Sound familiar?
My teacher’s heart knows that summer reading is essential, but I still have the brain of a mom and must admit that too often, summer reading fell by the wayside. That was a long time ago. Since then, I became a Reading specialist and learned the facts about summer reading or lack thereof. Since then, I worked with children who had barely cracked a book all summer and saw first-hand the meaning of “summer slide”. Students that were reading on grade level in June, often returned several levels below. That gap took a long to regain and ate up valuable time meant for new learning. Most recently, Covid-19 reared its ugly head, stealing away the personal attention so many students desperately need.
Benefits of Regular Reading During Summer
In case you’re skeptical, here a just a few of the benefits of summer reading for students in every grade:
- Enables students to maintain progress they have made
- Increases vocabulary
- Increases reading stamina
- Enhances fluency
- Builds background knowledge
- Provides opportunity to practice decoding and comprehension skills & strategies
- Provides opportunity to read in various genres
- Introduces students to new authors
- Instills competence and confidence
This summer, more than ever before, parents and youngsters deserve support for this vital endeavor. For this reason, I am creating a free virtual plan to guide parents in the challenging quest to have youngsters read regularly. This plan also offers a level of support to kids, enabling them to take control of their reading and share (virtually) with other youngsters.
There will be two groups, one for students entering grades four and five, and one for students entering grades six and seven. It will be open to children of anyone following this blog, but groups will be capped at eight students each. My goal is to simplify the process and motivate kids to read, while at the same time, reducing some of the stress on parents.
Interested? Don’t miss my post on Thursday, May 28, where I’ll provide more details. Here’s hoping it’s a happy and literate summer.