Summer break is quickly approaching, and parents are busy loading up on sunscreen and planning fun camps, activities, and vacations for their children to experience. But there is one activity parents shouldn’t forget in all the hustle and bustle of summer planning, and that’s READING!
Most parents know that the more children read, the better their fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, and that students who read widely, frequently, and recreationally, tend to be higher achievers, think more critically, and have more empathy for people who are different from themselves. But did you know that children who do not read during the summer months can lose up to three months of reading progress, resulting in a cumulative, long-term effect?
By the end of 6th grade, children who consistently lose reading skills over the summer will be two years behind their classmates. Additionally, children who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma than proficient readers, making early grade reading proficiency particularly important in closing the achievement gap. Adults can help combat this learning loss, or “summer slide,” by increasing children’s access to books, encouraging them to read, and engaging in summer reading together.
We know that reading daily during summer break is the most important factor in preventing summer learning loss, especially for younger children; and children who have easy access to books read more books. Throughout the summer many organizations are encouraging students and their families to participate in summer reading. Governor Doug Ducey and his wife, First Lady Angela Ducey, have launched a summer reading initiative here in Arizona focused on building awareness around the importance of summer reading. As a part of this program, Governor and First Lady Ducey will visit schools throughout Arizona to read to children, and Scholastic Book Company will be donating books to each school the First Lady visits. Programs such as the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge and Read On Arizona’s Summer Reading Program inspire families to read together by encouraging kids to win recognition and prizes for reading record numbers of books. Many other organizations provide resources to stimulate kids’ love of reading, including Reading Rockets, PBS Kids, and Common Sense Media. Public libraries and summer reading grant programs like Reading is Fundamental also help ensure that books are available children, which is a necessary step towards closing the reading achievement gap.
So this summer, find a library near you, research the best books to spark your child’s interests, get involved in the fantastic summer reading programs out there, and, most importantly, show the kids in your life just how awesome reading can be!