By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki
Children are at high risking of losing some of the learning they gained during the school year once summer comes. And yes, we get it, children need a break from learning now and then. But we don’t want to lose that hard-earned knowledge acquired during nine months of homeschooling or going to school. So what to do to keep the kids’ brains fresh?
The top solution – and the easiest – is the make sure your children keep reading. Whether a child reads during the summer is the #1 predictor of summer learning loss or gain.
And there are so many fun ways to do it!
Tap the Library
Your local library is your best resource. In addition to a wealth of books of every type to lend, they have Read-a-Loud times, Summer Reading Clubs, and other literary activities for kids of all ages. If there’s a popular teen movie out this summer whose source material was a book, chances are good your local library will have an activity to attract teens. And when you go on vacation, visit the local library for reading material while you’re there. (Ok, they have videos, too.)
The neighborhood bookstore should be a top destination no matter where you travel this summer. Make it cool in your family to visit a bookstore no matter where you wander. Buy a book or two to encourage literacy while supporting a local business.
Read in Fun Places
Model reading for enjoyment on the beach, in a hammock by the lake, in a porch swing at the summer cottage, in a tent n the woods, out loud to the whole gang of cousins.
Why Summer Reading Matters
Julie Wood, a literacy expert and an educational consultant, says children need to engage with books every day so they can maintain, and ideally strengthen, the literacy skills they learned during the
school year. She says if children read just six books over summer vacation, they will likely avoid summer reading loss.
Wood shares some other suggestions for how to do this on PBSkids.org:
- Take books with you and your child everywhere you go
- Let your child choose the books she wants to read
- Support his reading experience by talking about the books and helping him understand and interpret what he reads.
- Read aloud to your child, even if he can read on his own. It helps build vocabulary and listening comprehension skills.
- As you’re reading aloud, be sure to interact with your child by asking questions about the book.
- If you are more comfortable reading to your child in a language other than English, by all means do so.
- Encourage your child to participate in a summer reading program. Many libraries and some bookstores host them. For an online reading challenge, check out the PBS KIDS & Parents Reading Challenges.
Summer Reading Tips
PBS.org has more Summer Reading Tips for school-age kids, noting that summer’s more flexible schedule gives kids time and opportunity to read more and participate in a wide array of literacy activities, including:
- Be a reader and writer yourself.
- Set aside a consistent time each day for reading.
- Read aloud to your reader.
- Connect read-aloud choices to summer activities, reading about camping, fishing, etc.
- Help your child select books at a comfortable level.
- Don’t limit summer reading to books – check out Ranger Rick magazine or the sports page of your local paper.
- Read a book and watch the video together.
- Pack books when you go on outings.
- Encourage your child to write this summer, whether it’s sending a postcard or keeping a journal.
Curriki has a list of classics that will keep your children happily entertained on a warm summer afternoon. Happy reading!
Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.