Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Reading

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." - Dr. Seuss

I don't want to call out specific people or places, but it has come to my attention that there are people, people who call themselves educators, that question the importance of summer reading.  As a reader, a book lover, and a parent, I know that summer reading is fundamental.

Summer Slide.  Summer Slump.  Summer Setback.

These are phrases I read over and over again while tearing through the articles and studies tracking summer reading and its direct effect on overall academic success.  When I heard someone said, "Summer reading just doesn't make that big of a difference," all it took was a quick Google search to come up with expert opinions, articles and studies proving this ignorant person wrong.  Don't take anyone's word as truth, no matter how high up on the educational hierarchy they may be. 

Summer Reading Programs

Since not all schools have required reading programs, it falls to parents to seek out summer reading books, lists, and incentive programs, or make them up on their own.

Here is a quick guide for parents (reading lists to come):
1.  Go to your local library.  The last time I stopped in, the children's desk was full of information on everything from minor league baseball tickets to free ice cream connected to the different reading incentive programs. 
2.  Sign up for the Scholastic Summer Challenge.  (more on this tomorrow!)
3.  Pay attention to the Junior High School and High School reading lists!  Many school districts have required reading at a certain grade-level. Do NOT rely on your child's 8th grade teacher to inform you or your child on what his/her reading requirements will be for 9th grade.  Don't let your child be behind on Day 1 of high school.   These lists can be found on the school's website, local libraries, or local independent book stores.
4.  Speaking of local indie book stores, use this resource!  They know which books are hot, which classics are new again, where to find reading guides, and which books you can get in paperback instead of an expensive hardcover!  They will also have the local schools' lists - and are familiar with the books on them!  Go to to find your local book shop.  
5.  Schedule your summer reading time.  In our house, mid-morning and bed-time are our two favorite times of the day to read.  If you build it into your summer routine, you'll find your KIDS reminding YOU that it's time to read! 
6.  E-Mail me.  If you have a summer reading list and you aren't familiar with the books on the list, feel free to e-mail it to me, and I will try and point you to the ones I think are the best. 

Reading should be fun!  There are going to be rainy days, long trips in the car, and days where you are going to hear, "Mom, I'm bored!"  Have a few books at the ready. 

I will be doing several posts throughout the summer on Kids' Summer Reading, so stay tuned!

I invite the teachers out there to add anything I may have missed, links you want to share, and any other Summer Slide avoidance techniques! 


Spooky said...

Barnes and Noble and Borders both have summer reading programs where children can earn a free book!

Alison's Book Marks said...

YES! I forgot about the big name book stores out there. *smacks forehead* Thanks, Spooky!

Heather said...

I always tell the parents of my students
a)don't use reading as punishment-ever!
b)make sure you read the books your kids are reading
c)for your child to get the most out of their book, they have to TALK about it, not just read it
d)if you have the means, take your child out into the world to learn more about what they are reading, or to build background knowledge for things they might read in the future

Alison's Book Marks said...

Heather, thank you!

All really important points, especially for the parents with teens - Young Adult means different things to different people. I try and give a parents' note on my YA reviews if there is questionable content, but only YOU as a parent can decide what is/isn't appropriate for your child. You should see some of the "questionable" YA books on the suggested reading list at our middle school - YIKES. It's one thing if your teen asks for a book, but it's another to have the SCHOOL to SUGGEST it.

When my son reads a book, I ask him questions and get him talking about the book. This dialogue should never end, and helps A LOT when it comes to their writing about the book. If they can formulate a synopsis, or articulate their favorite part of the book aloud, the writing will come much easier.

Again, Heather - THANK YOU!!

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