Tips to keep reading skills from slipping over vacation
It takes very little effort to keep kids reading during the summer months.
Children who do not read over the summer months can lose as much as three months of reading progress by the time school starts next fall. Given reports for Michigan’s children, many cannot afford to lose three months of skills. The National Assessment of Educational Progress report the following reading level information for Michigan children (with no significant change since 2015):
- 4th grade – 32 percent of students are only at or above proficient
- 8th grade – 34 percent of students are only at or above proficient
- 12th grade – 37 percent of students are only at or above proficient
The Michigan League for Public Policy reports that approximately 40,000 of Michigan’s third-graders did not demonstrate proficiency in MEAP reading in 2013. Our children need to read more!
What can parents do?
- Read with each child 20 minutes every day.
- Ask kids to read you an article from the newspaper, a recipe or the directions on the back of a food box.
- Have kids read billboards and road signs.
- Stopping for groceries? Practice reading while shopping by reading food labels, grocery lists, food posters and the specials’ flyer.
- Have kids make a list of all the words they see that start with a certain letter, make sure the list is long and have them read it to you after dinner.
- Do your kids spend time in daycare over the summer? Ask the child care provider if your reader could spend time reading to the younger children each day.
What can grandparents do?
- Support parents in getting reading time in every day.
- Is there time right after school to read with a grandchild?
- Can you take the kids to the community library a couple times a week?
- Don’t live in the same community as your grandchildren? Write letters!
- Buy books at garage sales and give them to grandkids.
- Find Free Little Libraries in your town and exchange books.
What can communities do?
- Support community library programs such as summer reading programs and Free Little Libraries. This support can be financial, but does not have to be.
- Volunteer at the library during the summer reading program.
- What about shelving books while the librarian prepares for a program
It does not matter what kids are reading, it matters that they are reading. Read what children find enjoyable: comic books, magazines, newspapers, brochures, cereal boxes, words are everywhere. Discuss what you read together and ask questions about the story. Why ask questions? Michigan State University Extension says that asking questions supports learning how to think.