Believe it or not (and parents, ready or not), another school year is coming to an end. In just a few short weeks, your child will be off from school for approximately 12 weeks. Yes, 12 LONG weeks!
While summer vacation is a time of fun, full of barbeques, swimming, festivals, and late nights, it can also be a time of learning loss. Think about all of the time and hard work that your child has put into her learning, as well as all of the progress and gains that she has made with her reading this past year.
Unfortunately, a lot of that hard-won learning can be lost over the 12 weeks due to something known as “summer brain drain”. Summer brain drain is a loss of learning that can take place during summer vacation due to a break from active learning. This loss of learning and skills can be quite disconcerting for both parents and children.
In order to prevent summer brain drain, it is so incredibly important that your child keeps up with their reading all summer long. But, don’t worry! There are many fun and easy things that you can do to keep your child reading all summer long.
- Enroll your child in a summer reading program through your local library. Most libraries offer some sort of summer reading program. These programs are fantastic and they encourage children to read a certain number of books over the summer months, usually providing rewards and incentives along the way. Often times, they hold celebrations at the end to celebrate the children’s achievements and accomplishments.
- Take advantage of those rainy days! Use them as days to explore different libraries and bookstores! Spend a long time walking the aisles and exploring all of the books. It’s important to expose your child to all of the literary genres. Have fun sitting and reading books aloud with your child.
- Designate a certain time of day as your daily reading time. If you do this consistently, it will easily become a part of your child’s daily routine. While your child is doing her reading, you should read as well! This sets an excellent example for your child by showing her that you value and enjoy reading.
- Create a “book nook” in your home. A book nook is a closed-in, secluded spot where your child can go to do his reading. Make your book nook as comfy and cozy as possible since you want this to be a spot where your child can truly curl up with a good book.
- Get your child into a reading series. Reading series are great because they provide children with the opportunity to get to know and connect with the characters on a deeper level. Children become attached to the characters, so when they finish reading a book, they will naturally want to read the next book in the series because they have established a connection with the characters. Some popular reading series currently out are Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne, Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, My Weird School by Dan Gutman, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.
- Present your child with a variety of reading materials. You don’t have to limit your child’s reading to just physical books; instead, provide him with a variety of reading materials, such as comic books, graphic novels, magazines, e-books, Kindle and newspapers. By presenting and exposing him to a wide variety of reading materials, it will help to keep reading fresh and exciting.
- Bring books on your trips to the park and pool. When your child takes a break from climbing on the playground or swimming in the pool, have them take a book break! It does not need to be for a long period of time; it can be just long enough to read a picture book or a chapter in a chapter book. Reading in a new and different environment can be an exciting experience for children.
- Encourage your child to write and illustrate her very own book! Kids love to write their own books. Some stores, such as Lakeshore Learning Store, sell bounded blank hardcover books that provide children with the perfect opportunity to write and illustrate their own stories. These blank books are really cool because they look like actual books, so your child will get to feel like a real author!
- Read and act out stories together as a family. Hold a family story time, where each family member takes turns reading from the book. When the story is over, assign roles and act it out! Not only is this a fun activity for kids, but it also enables them to connect with the characters and story on a deeper level!
- Start a neighborhood book club. Find a group of children and create a book club. Set weekly meetings, where the children have the opportunity to share and discuss the books that they read each week. Encourage the children to keep track of their daily reading on a book log; this way they will have something to share at the meetings. In addition to motivating your child to read, a book club also serves as an excellent social activity.
Yes, summer vacation provides a much-needed break for our children from the constant demands and work that is asked of them for 10 straight months. It is also a time for children to re-charge their batteries and enjoy just being a kid. But, summer vacation can also be a time of great learning loss. In order to mitigate this loss, it is imperative that your child keeps up with her reading over the 12 weeks off from school.
As you can see, there are many fun and easy ways to do this. Then, on that glorious day in August or September when your child finally goes back to school, he will be able to start the new school year putting his best foot forward.