There is a lot of research that highlights the fact that during the summer students quite often regress in reading skills. Our schedules change, kids are more active, stay up later and spend a larger portion of their day outside. At least that is how it happens in this household! I will admit that my kids are reading less, especially my youngest and newest reader. I will be working harder to create more reading opportunities for both of them in the 6 weeks we have left of summer break.
I have mentioned before, and it is worth mentioning again, that reading is all around us. It is not just found in books, although that is what we tend to think of when many of us think of reading. Right now you are reading and you are on a computer or maybe even a cell phone, reading! It is important to think about reading in real life contexts because those will be the demands placed upon our little ones as they grow up.
“A Day in the Salt Marsh” – Sylvan Dell Publishing on BeThereBedtimeStories.com
It takes different skills and thought processes to read a book of fiction than it does to read a recipe, email or social studies text-book. Reading on the computer alone provides a plethora of different contexts, requiring different ways in which you navigate and make meaning with the text in front of you. It is a very important skill that students need to acquire today.
Webtime Stories are just one way to keep kids’ gray matter active over the break. Here are a few of the bazillion resources offering ideas to integrate reading/learning into your family’s summer routine, and ways to contribute to this important cause. Remember, our kid’s college transcripts depend on it!
Unlimited Webtime Stories for Summer Reading http://www.betherebedtimestories.com/summer-reading.aspx Reach Out and Read – Summer of a Million Books http://www.reachoutandread.org/supporters/events/soamb.aspxSummerLearning.org Event Calendar http://www.summerlearning.org/events/eventlist.aspPBS.org Tips for Summer Reading http://www.pbs.org/parents/readinglanguage/articles/sumreading/main.html Reading Rockets http://www.readingrockets.org/calendar/summer/ Scholastic Summer Challenge http://www.scholastic.com/summer/
So keeping this in mind I feel less and less guilty about my loss of reading focus at home. My daughters have been reading. It was just in a variety of real life forms such as playing on the computer, reading menus, reading road signs, or reading a thank-you note. Now I am off to help my daughters pick a Be There Bedtime Story to send to my Aunt Hope who is turning 79 tomorrow!! Oh yea, they will be reading that too!
Building (or finding) Motivation
When my girls are faced with either going to bed or going to bed they will reach for books, most likely because it prolongs the inevitable…bedtime. And that is more than okay with me. Whether it is recently checked-out library books or trusted old favorites from the bedroom bookshelf, this is their time to read independently. Because they share a bedroom there has been many an occasion that one will read aloud to the other. That is nirvana for mommy and “found’ motivation for reading.
In an attempt to build motivation for reading I have two simple rules in this house:
#1 Whatever my child wants to read at home for pleasure is up to them. Are they only reading comic books, Junie B. Jones, or sports magazines? Great! They have developed a reading preference and they are a reader. The more practice you get with anything the better you get at it.
Once our kids are reading anything it is then up to us to keep the motivation to read going. How we get them motivated is different for many children and that can be more of a challenge for some. Providing choice for your child is key here. Your child needs to feel empowered in selecting what interests them.
#2 Wherever you are in our house there are reading materials within eye-shot. The girls have a bookshelf in their bedroom, a bookshelf in the playroom and a bookshelf in the family room. Ninety-nine percent of these books were either bought at garage sales (the best place to build a great collection!) or given to us as gifts. Having books easily accessible is inevitably going to tempt our little ones eventually pick them up and take a closer look. The same goes for their time on the computer. I encourage them to take a look at new selections from Be There Bedtime Stories from time to time. They enjoy perusing the new books and deciding which one they want to send to which lucky aunt, uncle or grandparent.