By Sajdah Ali
By now you and your family are in full bloom of summer! The weather is ideal for everything you’ve been thinking of doing since winter. Your kids are making plans to go to the beach, pool, mall and every activity center they can convince you to take them to. If you have older kids, their plans might include the TV, video games, couch, cell phone and kitchen fridge.
In addition to keeping the family fully engaged in summer fun, make sure a daily dose of literacy enhancing activities is a part of their schedule in efforts to avoid Summer Learning Loss.
Summer learning loss is the loss of academic skills and knowledge over the course of summer holidays. The loss in learning varies across grade level, subject matter, and family income. Research shows that children who don’t read during the summer can lose up to three months of reading progress and that loss has a cumulative, long-term effect (www. readingrockets.org).
This is a condition that happens more often than most parents are aware of, yet is 100% preventable and can merge into your summer fun plans.
Here are 10 suggestions on how you can make that possible.
1. Make frequent trips to your local library: Students who take part in their local library’s summer reading program signifcantly improve their reading skills. In fact, research found that kids who participate in these programs are 52 Lexile points ahead of their peers who do not. Summer reading programs are also an antidote for learning loss (http://www.slj.com).
2. Take books with you and your child everywhere you go; ( i.e.doctor’s offce, picnics, road trips, etc) For your older or more Tech savvy kids, Tablet Readers will work just fne.
3. Let your child choose the books : Don’t be shy in making suggestions. You can expose him/her to different and new types of themes, subjects and topics.
4. Read aloud to your child: Even if your child can read on his/her own, it helps build vocabulary and listening comprehension skills.
5. Do Read-Aloud activities during Story Time: Ask your child what he/she thinks might happen next? What are the story characters likely to do? Ask if he/she knows if the story is real or make-believe. Kids love to share their ideas and understanding of things!
6. Reading to your child in his/her native language will help create a bridge to learning English.
7. Have your child write a summary about his/her reading. This will help you as a parent to monitor your child’s understanding of the story. A summary is a shorter version of a longer piece of story. It relates the main events with going into details about the whole story. It gives the general plot about the story.
8. Have your child create his/her favorite illustration about the story. Illustrations serve to expand, explain, interpret, or decorate a written text. Picture books can be also used to establish the setting, defne and develop characters, extend or develop plot, provide a different viewpoint, contribute to textual coherence, and reinforce the text.
9. Vocabulary knowledge is critical to successful reading comprehension. Therefore, have your child engage in vocabulary study that allows the child to display the defnition of the word; such as using the word in a sentence or showing an illustration of the word and providing synonyms and/or real world examples of the word.
10. Have your child create a reading log that will allow him/her to keep a record of books read daily. This log could include: title of book, author, summary, favorite illustration, time spent reading. For your older kids, reading logs can also be used to research topics when writing an essay. Students can also use the reading log to compare/contrast stories in the same genre or in different genres.
In conclusion, summer reading is crucial for all learners because it can enhance their reading skills and can be fun for students. Reading stimulates your mind, allows you to form pictures in your mind, promotes critical thinking, leads to research of various topics, builds vocabulary, and can take you to places you may never be able to travel physically. So whatever you do this summer, encourage your little ones to just grab a piece of text, open it and enter into the reading zone. Their fertile minds will be forever grateful to you.