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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

May 22, 2007

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.


I agree, reading is crucial for all students, and summer loss cannot be gained totally.

I am ABQ student from York University, Toronto. I selected "Summer Reading Loss" topic as my Inquiry project. Your article helped a lot for my project in the field of reading tips for parents,teachers and students.

I am ABQ student from York University, Toronto. I selected "Summer Reading Loss" topic as my Inquiry project. Your article helped a lot for my project in the field of reading tips for parents,teachers and students.

Thanks for your comment, Cora. It's amazing how quickly these long hot summer days go by, too often without a book in hand. I think your recommendation will serve your students well! Best of luck.

I am a reading teacher of Special Ed class and Im concerned also of the summer reading loss. I suggested to the parents of my students to spare just 10 minutes a day for their kids to devote in reading especially that now that they did not avail the ESY program. Besides this students when they come back to school it will be zero again. So, im trying to reach my students to follow up if they devote 10 minutes a day for reading

Thanks for your comment Lynette! I'm glad your student has the chance to work one-on-one with you this summer. You have the opportunity to make a real difference in his reading skills. I think his "Wednesday" answer was a real compliment!

I am a reading teacher and am also concerned about summer reading loss. This year I have decided to tutor a couple students. I had my first session with a reluctant boy who will be in second grade this fall. He has attention problems and dislikes school. I tutored him at my house and when he first came in, he was very shy. Even though we only dismissed for summer break one week ago. I let him select a book and we read for 45 minutes. We did mostly echo reading and he did seem interested in the book. But, it seemed like pulling teeth to get him to read. Regardless, he did as I asked. We ended the session with a comprehension worksheet that happened to be on days of the week. The last question was, "what is your favorite day of the week?" I asked him what his favorite day was. He asked, "What’s today?" I responded, "Wednesday". He said, "Then Wednesday is my favorite day". I think this just proves the point that if we give students opportunities to read in the summer and show interest - they can enjoy summer reading. I'm anxious to see how my summer tutoring will translate into reading ability of these students next fall.

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"There is no frigate like a book, to take us lands away" — Emily Dickinson