Summer is here and for most kids it means leaving behind classes and homework. But, summer isn’t the time to let learning go on vacation! According to Gary Huggins, chief executive officer of the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), “It’s extremely important that all young people keep reading during summer.
Researchers attribute more than half of the ninth-grade achievement gap in reading to unequal summer learning opportunities during the elementary years.”
Here are some reading tips, suggested by NSLA and Sylvan Learning, to make sure that summer time is a good balance of free discovery, play, leisure and learning for kids:
READ: To Spark Your Child’s Imagination
- Become a reading role model. When you spend time reading books on the beach or even directions for how to put together the grill this summer, you demonstrate for your child that reading is both fun and useful.
- Set aside a consistent time each day for reading. Depending on your family’s schedule, reading time might be in the morning, afternoon or before bed. Whatever time you choose, stick to it! Consistency is key to building good habits.
ENRICH: Your Child’s Reading Experience
- Let your child make his reading choices. In the summer, let kids read whatever they want (within reason and good sense, of course). Now is a good time to encourage reading about topics they don’t get a chance to study during the school year, to explore new interests, to discover new talents, or to delve into old favorites.
- Encourage your child to savor the book he is reading. Don't rush through a book—take time to enjoy it. Have your child stop and think about what he is reading. This will develop his analytical skills.
ACHIEVE: A Rewarding Family Experience
- Set goals and reward effort. Reward reading with more reading. Stop by the library or bookstore for the next book in your child’s favorite series, or let your child shop for it online.
- Read the book. Watch the movie. Few things make kids feel more “superior” than comparing and contrasting a movie to the book it’s based upon. “That’s not the way it was in the book!” Let them explain the differences, talk about why a director made those changes, and then talk about which version they preferred.
DISCOVER: The Joy of Reading
- Visit the library. This is already a school-year routine, but don’t forget to keep it up during the summer. When kids have their own library card – just as you do – and use it regularly – just as you do – they quickly see that reading plays an important role in their family and in their lives.
- Go online for ideas. There are lots of websites for kids’ book choices. Book Adventure is a veteran, happily motivating kids to read for over a decade.
“Strong reading skills are incredibly important for all subjects in school,” says Richard E. Bavaria, Ph.D., senior vice president of education outreach for Sylvan Learning. “The more children read, the more they’ll enjoy reading, and the better readers they’re likely to become. There's no better way to turn those pages than under a tree or on the beach, and kids and parents alike know that reading is one of the things that sets summer apart.”
For additional reading resources, visit Sylvan on the web at www.sylvanlearning.com or call 1-800-31-SUCCESS. Get more ideas for how to keep your child learning all summer at www.summerlearning.org/sldparents.
I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!