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Summer reading

Keep them reading this summer

There are five days left in our school year, how many are left for you? As school winds down, here are two reminders and one idea to help make sure that reading DOESN'T wind down for kids.

Exercise your imagination

It is official: summer has started, at least unofficially.

And with it comes the talk of the summer learning loss. But a video message from author Mary Amato makes a case that summer is a great time for kids to exercise their imaginations. They'll have fun and likely avoid losing reading skills.

How? Reading and writing!

What? Books, songs, plays — wherever and whatever the imagination fancies.

Summer slide

When I first heard the term "summer slide" I thought of equipment on a playground. But as I'm sure you're aware, there's another meaning entirely. This slide refers to summer learning loss.

There's lots of research about it. Children tend to lose reading (and math) skills over the summer when they're not used.

There are many activities that enhance reading and will slow or stop that slide — talking, singing, reading aloud, keeping a journal or photo album of summer activities, and lots more.

Books as play

Recently I was looking for a birthday gift for a soon-to-be five year old girl. As I wandered into the toy department of a well known chain store, I was struck by the number of toys that included some kind of electronic noise or light — a gimmick to grab attention.

I heard guitars without strings, came across talking dolls (fuzzy and not), and even digital cameras for the very young. There were animals that talked, clocks that asked questions, and more.

The color of summer

It's always good to rediscover something, especially if that something slows you down, makes you think, and creates vivid images.

What I've rediscovered is Mary O'Neill's collection of poems about colors, Hailstones and Halibut Bones (Doubleday). Though the book was originally published in 1961, it was newly illustrated in the late 1980s and recently reissued. Old is new all over again.

Traveling with books

We just got back from a family vacation to Ireland. It was my teenaged son's first time out of the country and the first time for his parents since their son was born.

Not surprisingly, we packed lots of books. I'm still reading for an award committee, so most of my books were for young readers.

Summer Reading Bags: Wrap up

The Summer Reading Bag project wrapped up last week (read more about it here). I was amazed by the quality and quantity of donations we gathered! Thanks to the generosity of teachers and neighbors, the PTO tables were piled high with books, games, flash cards, mini chalkboards, and more.

summer reading bags

Summer reading bags: access for all

In last week's blog post, I wrote about the research on access to books for kids in poverty. In short: all kids, but especially kids from lower-income households, need access to books over the summer. If there are no books laying around to read, it's unlikely that a child will lay around to read.

Summer tutoring: How's it going? Four considerations.

Is your son or daughter working with a tutor this summer? Now that July has begun, it's a great time to evaluate your tutoring situation. It's not too late to make a few simple changes that can make a real difference in the remaining tutoring sessions.

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.

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"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." — Emilie Buchwald