Long vacation (summer break) is a great season that everybody awaits passionately for its arrival. Schools are on vacation during this period. Children take time to relax at home. However, indulging in excess relaxation and fun can lead to reading loss as research has shown.
During long vacation, most kids are thinking of sleeping in and playing in the pool. Parents are occupied attempting to keep their kids busy and teachers are concerned about not preparing their students adequately enough for the upcoming year. I reality, however, all are fighting braindrain.
Research has shown that students experience learning loss when they are not taking part in active education. Enrolling in vacation programs is an excellent way of forestalling such vacation losses. This will serve as a continuation of their academic pursuit and also help them to avoid indulging in unsuitable behaviors associated with this long break.
Numerous studies indicate that students who don’t read or study infrequently during their long vacation see their reading abilities stagnate or decline. This effect becomes more pronounced as students get older and advance through the school system. The situation for economically disadvantaged students is especially grim: if students from low-income families don’t read over the summer, they are much more likely to fall behind their more privileged peers, widening the “achievement gap.”
I understand why schools sometimes feel the need to call for required summer classes. Kids who don’t study at all during the summer can see their performance drop drastically (something known as “summer slide”). But it doesn’t mean that studies should drag kids down. The idea of studying as something that one has to do, reluctantly, is depressing.
Another problem that is facing most kids in school is retaining what they are taught in school. Most children forget easily because their retentive memory has not been fully developed. Enrolling them in private home classes will help to develop their retentive ability. During these classes, they will be exposed to interesting concepts. They may like to read books regularly because they would have developed the love for learning and by reading regularly they will be able to internalize whatever they are learning.
Summer lessons should be a joy. It should be a time to stretch out on a hammock or curl up in an armchair and dive deep into a fun, engrossing, and fabulous state.
To most parents, improving reading skills is something important.
Kids who spend time reading during the summer go back to school with their reading skills improved. This will help them in school, and help them later in life. But even more importantly, kids who read during vacation usually form life-long memories and make powerful connections with books.
Below are few suggestions for parents to help make this period a joyous one.
1. Make sure your kids have plenty of books. Take your kids to the library or the bookstore (new or used) to pick out some interesting new books. Go to the library every week, if you can. Go to yard sales, and sort through the books there. Organize a book swap in your neighborhood or scout troop. Do whatever you need to do to keep a fresh supply of books around.
2. Always pack up books whenever you go somewhere, for your kids and for yourself (including audiobooks). Make sure your kids see you reading, whether it’s on the beach while waiting for the softball game to start, or at home. Bonus points if you spend some of your time reading kids’ books. Then you can also talk about the books with your kids, and recommend other books that they might like. Listen to audiobooks in the car, especially on long trips. Pick books that are fun and/or exciting. You’ll find that these add to your family’s common frame of reference. And they make the drives go by a lot more quickly.
3. 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. This reinforces the idea that reading is cool, and gives your child a chance to talk about the book with others. Consider buying two copies of the same book, for your child and his or her best friend, so that they can both read it. Maybe start a book club. Take the kids to see a movie based on a book, and also read the book. Do whatever you can to make reading cool and social.
4. Try not to get hung up on whether or not your child “could” be reading more advanced books. Do you read Proust on your summer vacation, or do you read James Patterson? Kids turn to books for a respite from cares sometimes, just as adults do. They don’t want everything they read to educational. There’s no harm in suggesting the occasional book that’s more of a stretch, but don’t push too hard. If kids find reading enjoyable, they’ll keep reading, and they will eventually push themselves. For that to happen, they just need to spend time reading.
5. Try to keep some time available for reading. This is perhaps the hardest thing, as schedules fill up with sports, cookouts, trips, and movies. These are all fun, too. But if you ask me, there’s no substitute for the occasional afternoon spent perched up in a tree exploring far-off worlds through books.
And that’s it. A prescription for getting kids reading this summer. Get great books, take them places with you, make reading social, keep reading from being a chore or a contest, and leave a bit of time for reading on the schedule. There are no guarantees, of course. But if you do all of these things, you’re setting the stage for a reading-filled summer.
Join my FREE Email Course and get access to a special design report and course materials with action plan all designed to help you and your child learn the right way.