Five Ways to Fight Summer Reading Loss
I am sitting at my computer this morning looking outside at an absolutely sweltering mid-July day in southeastern Pennsylvania. The weather people are warning us that the combination of heat and humidity makes it dangerous to go outside. So, I am thinking that this is a great opportunity to keep the kids inside and have a family reading day (and for me to avoid the needed garden work).
These days most elementary schools provide dedicated in class time for kids to read from books they have selected because of their interests and reading abilities. Unfortunately, for many kids summer is not a time when books are readily accessible or reading time a part of a daily routine. This lack of practice in reading often leads to a phenomenon that reading researchers call summer reading loss or summer reading setback. Kids who don't read over the summer, lose reading gains they made over the school year.
There is plenty of research documenting summer reading loss and you can access some of it here and here. Not surprisingly, summer reading loss impacts children in low income families more than in middle income and high income families. While there is less research on how to combat summer loss, there are some common sense ways that parents and teachers can use to help fight summer loss.
Give Access to Books
When kids have access to books that they want to read and that they can read, their reading improves. There is actually some good research to demonstrate this. In many lower income families access to books is limited. In order to combat summer loss we must get books in kids hands. Schools can play a role in this. Research has shown that just getting high interest books in the homes of low income children can make a difference in summer loss. Simply by giving kids books to take home at the end of the school year, schools can make a difference. Different schools have found Russ on Reading: Five Ways to Fight Summer Reading Loss: