Did you know that, over the summer months, kids have a learning loss of between 5-15%? They actually slide backwards, putting our teachers in the position of having to re-teach during the first few weeks of school rather than charging ahead on new/fresh/EXCITING education.
When my boys’ pre-k teacher (who, by the way, is an award winning educator….so she totally knows what she’s doing) told me that reading is the weapon of choice to combat summer learning loss, I was excited.
Reading our way through the summer is totally do-able! It just takes a little planning and a lot of enthusiasm. Well, and piles and piles of books!
Here are 5 ways that I keep my kids reading. I’ll share my ideas and then, in the comments, you can share your ideas! And, remember, what works for one kid might not work for another…but the only way you’ll know is by trying. Oh! And remember this can be fun…summer reading shouldn’t be a stress point for you or the kids in your life.
1. Visit your library! One of the main reasons that kids don’t read in the summer is a lack of fresh, new-to-them books. As much as I would love to buy every book they want, I can’t. But this is where our tax dollars can work for us. My kids love roaming the shelves, picking out books from all different genres. Without guiding them, we usually walk out with a stack of half nonfiction and half fiction.
What’s that you say? Your kids think the library is lame? Well…I doubt they’ll think that if they go to a program about bats or reptiles or a magic show. Check out your library website for a schedule of weekly events.
2. Sign up for a reading program! My kids are involved in 3 different reading programs. One at their school that asks how many pages the kids read. One at the library that encourages kids to read at least 15 minutes a day for 30 days. One at Baker Book House which offers store gift cards for hours read! If your kid has a sense of competition, this is a great motivation…even if he/she is competing against him/herself. This is also a great way to celebrate how much your kids read!
3. Planning a trip? Read books about where you’re going/activities you’ll do! Summer is a great time to travel. Why not read up about the history of the town you’ll visit (most cities have histories on their own websites)? Going to the zoo? Read up about different animals and talk about which critters your excited about seeing. Camping? Read about survival skills and edible plants. I promise, they’ll feel SUPER smart when you all arrive at your destination…and you will, too!
4. Read to them! I’ve heard it said many times that readers are born on the laps of their parents in front of a picture book. It’s repeated so often because it is true. Some of my favorite memories from my childhood are of being read to. And I truly hope that’s true for my kids. This summer our goal is to read through the 14 books from the Oz series. Who knows if we’ll make it…but it’s a fun goal for us. Add some goofy voices for the characters for bonus fun. Also, ask them to discuss what you’ve read…how would you feel about that? What do you think will happen next?…for extra learning. I think you’ll find that it’s a great experience for you, too. Even 15 minutes a day. You can do it!
5. Get caught reading! Kids who catch their parents reading will learn that it’s a valuable use of time! Here’s permission to put off mopping that floor or dusting the piano. Take 30 minutes to sit with a book. I know…I know…you feel guilty. Don’t! Your kids need to see that you value reading. So, when you’re at the library, pick out a book for yourself! Or (if you’re like me) find a book you bought years ago, but haven’t gotten to. Dig in. It’s good for your kids!
Now it’s your turn! What are some of your strategies for getting kids to read? Don’t have kids? Then how do you motivate yourself to crack open a book? Don’t read? Well…why not? I love to hear from you!