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Dr. Joanne Meier
Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.
Summer Reading: Loss and Finds
The May 2007 issue of The Reading Teacher includes a timely article on Summer Reading Loss. In our school district, there are 13 days left of school (!) so our summer reading time is fast approaching.
As parents and teachers, there's good reason to think about summer reading loss. The term "summer reading loss" refers to the decline in reading development that can occur during summer vacation when children aren't in school, and are (perhaps) not reading as much, if at all.
The loss in proficiency is well documented, and is particularly acute among students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who may already be at risk for reading difficulty. The loss becomes an even bigger problem when the kids come back to school further behind their middle-income classmates whose reading skills might have improved over the summer.
So, what can be done to prevent summer reading loss? Reading Rockets compiled some resources that might provide some help. They include tip sheets for parents, articles for teachers and librarians, links to research and reports on the topic, and some summer book lists.
I particularly like the "What educators can do" section of the article Lost Summers that addresses the access to materials issue. This fun NPR article includes a list of kids books that you WON'T find on most "recommended reading" lists. And this American Library Association resource includes some suggestions for librarians to use when planning a summer reading program.