Summer: Time To Read!
Here is my summer plea for parents and teachers: Please don’t let the students take a three month vacation from reading!
This is especially true for children who have had to work hard to learn to read this year. Each August, I see students who return to school after the break having lost ground. Imagine what they are missing by spending the first month or two of the school year catching up instead of building on what they learned the previous year.
Fortunately, children don’t have to do hours of homework to maintain the progress they make during the school year — they just need to read (or be read to) a little bit every day. Ideally, we hope that children will develop a reading habit and choose reading just for fun. For children who aren’t quite there yet, we can still help by providing regular opportunities for them to read or listen to books.
Any Reading Counts
Summer is a great time to let children read whatever they like. It’s fine to re-read old favorites, magazines, or comic books, for example, even if they are easy. Here are some more ways that families and teachers can help keep up children’s reading exposure over the summer months.
- Reading aloud and reading together
Reading to children (in any language that children and their families speak together) is still one of the best ways to help their literacy development, even when children are old enough to read on their own.
- Re-reading old favorites, reading easy books, or reading to younger siblings or family members
- Reading comic books, magazines, and activity books
- Playing word games
- Listening to E-books, audio books, podcasts and read-alongs on the computer or on other electronic devices
Listening to ‘book language’ helps children to understand the kinds of words and sentences that they don’t hear in regular conversation, and it builds important comprehension skills…plus it’s fun and relaxing to have somebody read to you!
Especially for Parents
- Take advantage of the ISP Library’s Summer Checkout
- Let your child see you reading
- Read the books your child is reading (especially if your child reads independently)
Reading the same books as your child allows you to talk about the books together. A mini-book club discussion is a great way to get to know something new about your child…and it will help your child’s reading, too.
- Talk about books (or movies) together
Ask your child to be specific about why a book or a movie was ‘good’ or ‘boring’. Look up book or movie reviews on the Internet and talk about whether you and your child agree or disagree with them.
- Make a visit to a library or book store a special occasion
- Consider subscribing to a children’s magazine
Or check out children’s magazines from the ISP library for the summer break.
On the Move?
In our international school setting, many families travel or move over the summer break. While we do recommend limiting screen time for children, there are also plenty of reading materials available online for moments when having enough books might be a challenge. Here are some recommended sites for online books or stories:
- BBC Stories for Young Children
- Storyline Online
- Big Universe (Subscription site; free trial available)
- Magic Keys Children’s Storybooks Online
- Starfall (Phonics-based books)
- International Children’s Digital Library (E-books in English and many other languages)
ISP families can find more online resources on the ISP Library ES Blog (use your schoolnet log in information). ISP students in Grades 1-3 may also have access to Raz Kids – ask your child’s class teacher for the user name and password.
More About Summer Reading
Summer Reading Tips for Families
From the PBS Parents website
Books recommended for children — by children! If you are going to be visiting bookstores or libraries over the summer, you might find some ideas on these lists compiled each year by the International Reading Association.
Summer Reading: To Compete or Not Compete
In this blog entry, educator Maureen Barbieri looks at different perspectives on summer reading incentive programs.
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