Let me be your child's summer reading partner!
I know school is winding down, and after a very tricky start to the 2012-2013 academic year, (Sandy, snowstorms) most of us can’t wait for the break. But hold on a second. Did you know the most important months of the school year are the ones in-between? The ones when your child isn’t even in school?
June, July and August are a critical time for your child’s learning. If you want to help your child achieve academic success in his or her new grade level, then your job isn’t done. It’s just begun.
If you child does not read, or “sort of reads” the assigned summer reading, most likely he or she will loose a level or more in reading, and will not be ready for the new school year. For example, if your child is at a level Y in 7th grade, and does little to no reading, he or she might fall to a level V or W at the end of summer. This means that at the start of 8th grade, when the texts are at that harder level Y and Z, your child will be playing catch up. Not a great way to start the new year.
One study showed that students scored significantly lower at the end of the summer on standardized tests than they scored on the same test at the beginning of summer (White, 1906; Entwisle & Alexander 1992; Cooper, 1996; Downey et al. 2004). This is even more prevalent in lower income households, where the prevalence of video games, television often overshadows the love of curling up with a good book.
Learning doesn’t stop when school stops. Of course you want your student to be successful academically. But you also want your child to be successful throughout his life, and to develop a love of learning. You want your child to be an independent thinker who is self–motivated and who thinks critically about lots of issues.
If you want those things for your child, then he or she needs to read. If you don't think you can monitor or track your child's reading, then let me be your child's reading partner.
Having said that, if you want to support your child, here are some other ways to do that!
There are plenty of sources like New York Times Summer Reading Contest (which focuses on non-fiction articles from the Times on everything from North Korea to Justin Beiber) to help support the older students’ summer reading. Students read the articles, then respond to the NY Times with why and what interested them about the article. More information, including contest rules, can be found at:
For younger students, more prescriptive workbook style summer reading support can be found at:
As a teacher and a mother, for me, the most important thing for your child is to set aside some daily dedicated time to read. Depending on the book, and depending on the child, 30 to 60 minutes a day would suffice.