Summer reading is important to your child’s development, so encouraging them to read, even when they are out of school, will help them prepare for next year. It can be a busy time when they are off from school, but make sure they have enough free time to pick up a book. There are ways that you can encourage them to read for fund, and it’s easy.
Why Summer Reading is Important
When the semester’s over, kids tend to forget school and focus on all the fun they are going to have outside the classroom. However, not reading over the entirety of the summer is detrimental to your child’s literacy. Studies have proven that kids who refrain from reading over the summer can lose up to three months of progress by the time school is back in. The “Summer Slide,” as many call it, can create long-term hurdles to their education.
By encouraging your child to read over the summer, you are helping them strengthen and maintain the reading skills they have already developed. Research from the University of Tennessee discovered that reading over break helps close the reading gap for students who are behind, and can be just as effective as summer school. It can actually take as little as four to six books over the course of the summer months to avoid the “Summer Slide” and keep them at their reading level. Continuing to read year-round can help students improve their vocabulary and develop their reading comprehension.
Let Them Choose
Summer reading is a great way to have your child pursue their individual interests now that they are away from mandatory assignments. Most schools try to get their students to read over the summer by assigning them summer reading books, however, many have seen that this method is not very effective because it doesn’t allow the kids to read what they love.
It has been proven over numerous studies that by allowing kids to read what they want, they read more frequently, and their reading levels improve. A school district in Rochester, New York saw that allowing kids to pick their own summer reading books increased the rate at which the books were actually read, compared to having the books assigned to them.
Work with your child to come up with a list of their interests, and then take them to the library to look for the perfect books. Make suggestions and help them make decisions, but allow them to choose which books they will read.
Make Sure It’s Appropriate
While you should encourage your child to read what interests them, it’s also important that they read books that are appropriate for their reading level. Readability can hurt their interest in a subject because it’s no fun to not understand what you’re trying to read.
The Five Finger Test is an easy way to make sure they choose books that meet their reading level. When they choose a book, have them open up to a random page and read through the text. Every time they see a word they don’t know, have them hold up one finger. By the end of the page, you should know how difficult the book will be for them based on the amount of fingers they have up. No fingers is an easy read, and five fingers is a challenge.
Make It A Group Activity
Children are very impressionable, so it’s important to make a good impression on your child by showing them that reading for fun is an activity that continues beyond school. If they see you reading your own book, they will associate reading as a fun, leisurely activity, and not just something you are forced to do for school. Assigning a time when the entire household sits down to read can help kids get used to the idea of reading as a socially acceptable activity.
Sometimes it can also be helpful to engage with them about what you are reading. Maybe tell them about your book, or have a second copy of theirs so you can read along with them. You can also take turns reading a book out loud, allowing for student and parent to engage in a deeper discussion about the story. It could also be a good idea to take them on a trip to a location associated with the book they are reading. Find a way to make reading more engaging, and it will become a much more productive process for them.
If you’re letting your child pick out their own book, don’t hold them to one type of medium. It can be helpful to allow them to break up longer books with quicker reads like a comic book, magazine, or storybook. The use of technology can be useful too. Don’t rule out audiobooks, e-Readers, or iPads because they all count and can provide unique experiences for your child. As long as they are reading, they are gaining from the experience.