Even though school is almost over, it’s not too late to help your child become a better reader. Summer is an important time for students to keep reading and improving their language skills. Help prevent the Summer Slide before the new school year begins next fall.
Here are 10 facts about the importance of reading during the summer:
ALL young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. Research spanning 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer. 1
READING is the most important subject in school. Why? Because a child needs reading in order to master most of the other subjects. It’s extremely difficult to do word problems in math if you can’t read the words. How can you answer the questions in social studies or science if you can’t read and understand the textbook? 2
LEARNING or reading skill losses during the summer months are cumulative, creating a wider gap each year between more proficient and less proficient students. By the time a struggling reader reaches middle school, summer reading loss has accumulated to a two– year lag in reading achievement. 3
REGARDLESS of ethnicity, socioeconomic level, or previous achievement, children who read four or more books over the summer fare better on reading-comprehension tests in the fall than their peers who read one or no books over the summer. 4
IT is estimated that the “Summer Slide” accounts for as much as 85% of the reading achievement gap between lower income students and their middle- and upper-income peers. 6
READINGas a leisure activity is the best predictor of comprehension, vocabulary and reading speed. 7
3RD graders who can’t read on grade level are four times less likely to graduate by age 18 than a proficient reader. 8
HAVING reading role-model parents or a large book collection at home has a greater impact on kids’ reading frequency than does household income. 9
AN overwhelming 92% of kids say they are more likely to finish a book they picked out themselves. 9
So now that you know why summer reading is so important, what are some ways you can encourage your child to read?
- Visit your local library or bookstore – often. Having access to as many books and reading materials as possible ensures that your child will always have something to read.
- Make sure your child participates in a summer reading program (such as those offered by the Santa Cruz Public Libraries or the Baymonte School Library). Summer reading programs offer incentives and a variety of fun activities that promote reading and learning.
- Have your child record their books so they can keep track of their progress.
- Read aloud. Children of all ages love read alouds and it is a great way to spend time together.
- Be a good example. It’s hard to encourage your children to read if you’re not reading yourself.
- Check out or subscribe to kids magazines (Sports Illustrated for Kids, National Geographic Kids, etc.).
- Read about your vacation destination before you go.
- Read about something you want to do together (hiking, planting a garden, working on motorcycles).
- Turn off the TV and substitute one half hour of reading. Make reading a family event by having 15-30 minutes of family reading time every day.
- Print is everywhere. Read cereal boxes, newspapers, comics, magazines, books, ebooks, street signs, etc.
- Carve out time for reading, even when your schedule is packed. This will show your child that it is a priority.
- Listen to an audiobook while reading along in print.
- Always include books in your bags whenever you go somewhere, for your kids and for yourself. Reading is a great activity to beat boredom or fill in downtime.
- Encourage social reading. If your child wants to read a book because other kids are reading it (and you don’t have personal reasons why you think your child isn’t ready for the book), by all means get a copy. You could even create a Book Club for your child and their friends.
- Check out a few book lists for students to get new ideas.
- ALSC Summer Reading Lists
- Scholastic Summer Reading Lists
- Common Sense Media Summer Reading List
1. White, 1906; Heyns, 1978; Entwisle & Alexander 1992; Cooper, 1996; Downey et al, 2004.
2. Ten facts parents should know about summer reading: Jim Trelease.
3. Summer Reading and the Ethnic Achievement Gap, Jimmy Kim, Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 2004
4. Ameliorating summer reading setback among economically disadvantaged elementary students, Richard Allington, April 2007
5. Lasting Consequences of the Summer Learning Gap, Karl Alexander, Doris Entwistle, Linda Steffel Olson, April 2007
6. Why Summer Matters in the Rich/Poor Achievement Gap, Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Frazen, August 2009
7. The Power of Reading, Stephen Krashen, Libraries Unlimited., 1993
8. Annie E. Casey Foundation, Hernandez, Donald J., 2011
9. The Kids and Family Reading Report™ 4th edition conducted by Harrison Group and Scholastic, 2012.