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“Do we HAVE to go anywhere today?” asked my 10 year old daughter in an exasperated voice one mid-summer morning. “I just want to stay at home and read.”
While I usually reprimand my daughter for displays of tween attitude (can you sense the eyeroll and a hand on hip that went with the above?), I was ecstatic to tell her our free day meant she was able to do exactly what we wanted and honestly, staying inside with a book on a sticky summer day sounded perfect to me too. It also meant that my son and I could finish the adventures of Henry and Ribsy. Being halfway through the last chapter, he was eager to learn if Henry really would be successful in catching a Chinook salmon on what had already turned out to be an adventurous fishing trip.
As a former teacher, I know how important it is to keep kids reading over the summer and with the Common Core Standards challenging our nation’s schools to raise the bar in reading and learning, it’s even more important that kids continue to pick up books when school isn’t in session.
We may know how important it is to continue reading even when school is out but here are some startling facts from Scholastic:
- It’s estimated that the “Summer Slide” accounts for as much as 85% of the reading achievement gap between lower-income students and their middle- and upper-income peers.
- Learning or reading skill losses during the summer months are cumulative. By the time a struggling reader reaches middle school, summer reading loss has accumulated to a two-year lag in reading achievement.
- 3rd graders who can’t read on grade level are four times less likely to graduate by age 18 than are proficient readers.
For kids like my daughter who devours books left and right, it’s not hard to encourage her to read. She’s been working through a steady supply of books thanks to trips to our local library, asking us to download recommendations from her friends on a Kindle, and re-reading favorites. Ensuring easy and continued access to books for summer reading is one a way to prevent a summer reading setback.
Our eight year old son is another story. He’s a great reader who love nonfiction titles but is reluctant to pick up a fiction book on his own. For us, the challenge is helping him find those just-right stories that will grab his attention but we have to be careful to not push him towards titles that we think he’d like. 92% of kids say they’re more likely to finish reading a book that they pick out.
My strategy for our son is to let him read anything and everything. Maybe he’s a little too into Captain Underpants and Super Diaper Baby but if graphic novels and potty humor ensure that he’s reading, then I’m all for it. Same thing goes with Sunday comics, comic books like Calvin and Hobbes, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and books filled with facts like National Geographic’s Weird But True series. And dog books. He always loves a good book featuring a great dog which is why we’re reading Beverly Cleary’s Henry Huggins series!
And since our soon-to-be third grade boy always loves a good challenge and anything involving a flashlight and space, the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge Reading Under the Stars (powered by EVEREADY®) has served as a wonderful motivator. Dedicated to stopping the Summer Slide and getting kids to read throughout the summer months when school is out, the Summer Reading Challenge encourages kids to keep track of the number of minutes they’re reading.
How do I sign my child up?
Go to www.scholastic.com/summer and sign up for this free program. Kids can log minutes through any desktop browser, browser on a mobile device, or through the free Scholastic Reading Timer mobile app on iOS and Android devices as they Read for the World Record. As they log reading minutes, kids unlock star constellations.
In 2013, Scholastic inspired more than 130,000 kids from 4,200 schools in all 50 States and 31 countries to set a new record for summer reading of 176 million-plus minutes. Kids participating in the 2014 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge broke the 2013 world record early in the summer and then surpassed it with an astonishing 217 MILLION minutes read to date, and they’re not done yet!
Why participate in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge at the end of the summer?
You may be thinking that it’s too late in the summer to participate but it’s not! It’s never too late to motivate kids to pick up a book and read before the school year starts and the Summer Reading Challenge doesn’t end until September 5 (read throughout Labor Day weekend!). Plus kids can still enter sweepstakes to win fabulous prizes as they log their minutes!
For more information and inspiration:
- Summer Challenge 101 for Parents provides 10 things you need to know about the challenge. Chances are it will answer your questions!
- Visit Scholastic on Twitter for the #MondayMinutes. See the total number of minutes kids have read to date each Monday.
- Follow the Scholastic Facebook calendar for Friday Freebies!
- Check out the Summer Reading Challenge Pinterest Board for a new collage of summer books every Friday.
- Download the free Reading Timer app
- Access wonderful resources just for parents like age appropriate best summer books lists. Here are direct links to Best Summer Books for ages 3-5, 5-7, 8-10, 10-12, and young adults but remember—let them choose what they want to read from these lists to ensure that they become part of the 92% of kids who finish the book they select!
Images courtesy of Scholastic. I am a member of the Scholastic Circle and receive books and other products from Scholastic for my involvement. All opinions are my own. Amazon affiliate links included in this post.