Although school is out, reading is important for children to do throughout the summer months so they continue developing a strong foundation for success in school and life.
Early learning experiences like reading are a large part of children’s intellectual development. Children who don’t practice reading in the summer risk falling behind by the time school begins again.
In fact, more than half of the reading gaps of ninth-graders can be explained by summer learning loss during early school years.
“During the summer there is that learning loss that can happen, and especially in some of the schools we work in where parents don’t have quite as many resources,” said Tori Kendrick, senior manager with Tutor Charlotte, a joint initiative of United Way, Read Charlotte, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and others to provide high-quality reading and math tutoring for children.
Here, Kendrick shares four tips for good reading habits that help prevent the summer slide:
- Engage in active reading with children
Active reading refers to reading a book with a child instead of reading a book to a child. This approach positively impacts a child’s language skills as well as the ability to understand what he or she reads.
The focus of active reading is the three ABC’s – asking questions, building vocabulary and connecting to the child’s world. This encourages a conversation so the child can develop an interest of reading and a love of reading, Kendrick said.
- Choose books suitable to a child’s age
Kendrick said picture books are the best choice for children in kindergarten, first and second grades. These books are high-interest but also have some strong vocabulary words, she said.
An activity that adults can do with these books is picture walking. This exercise involves the child looking at the book’s pictures and predicting the story based on those images.
- Check out programs at Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library
Summer Break is the library’s 2018 summer learn program that combines the recommended 20 minutes of reading per day with other learning activities. Educational yet fun programs like this one allow children to develop a love for reading and learning, even in the summer.
Kendrick also suggests adults attend one of the library’s active reading trainings that are held throughout the year.
- Visit Read Charlotte’s website for more resources
Read Charlotte, a Tutor Charlotte partner organization, provides additional tips like summer reading lists, fun reading graphics and ways families can sign up for free books and reading advice.