What is the summer slide?
No, I'm not referring to this awesomeness...
I'm talking about the loss of reading and math skills that students experience when their direct instruction stops during summer break. This is called the summer slide or the summer reading loss, and it's a real thing. Researchers estimate that students lose one to three months of instruction during those summer months.
Consider the similarities between reading and math skills to exercise. What happens when you stop for a considerable amount of time? Those gains atrophy! The same is true for reading and math. When practice stops, the instruction is also forgotten.
Is there a way for parents to combat this?
Yes! The easiest "strategy" is also the most effective and that is simply reading with your kids. (No, age does not matter.) Just ask my college professor who read children's books to his graduate students. I will never, ever forget him reading (and bawling) through the book, Faithful Elephants: A True Story of Animals, People, and War by Yukio Tsuchiya. If you're also thinking, this crazy lady has no idea what she's talking about - try reading to my secondary students - ha! Try. All I'm asking is to try. Try reading a book that touches their heartstrings, angers them, makes them passionate about a certain issue, shares information about a topic that they're super interested in, read a chapter from the Bible every day - try it.
I thought this professor was crazy initially. Do you know what the class was called? Just guess what he specialized in! Classroom Community. Do you know how he successfully created a classroom community with multiple students of all ages (from elementary classrooms to summer graduate courses lasting two weeks)?
So I decided to try it.
The results fascinated me.
Every day, every.single.day. I read to my students. We read children's books, rhymes, songs, poetry, chapter books out loud every.day. They LOVED it. Junior high and high school students alike. I cannot say this enough,
"READ TO YOUR KIDS!"
If that isn't motivating enough, read Scholastic's Kid's & Family Reading Report and take it to heart:
Did you know that the majority of parents agree that reading to their kids is important, but the number of parents who actually follow through with that drastically decreases as children get older?
Did you know that of the kids whose parents stopped reading to them a large majority of these kids wish they didn't?
Did you know that the majority of the kids who wished that their parents kept reading to them were boys?
These national statistics match with my experience in the classroom. During the five years I spent in a Title One reading classroom, filled with 7-12 graders who struggled reading, that the majority of those students I surveyed could not remember a favorite childhood book, because they also could not remember their parents ever reading to them. (This is when I wanted to cry.)
Pick up a book and read it with your kids. That is the ONE "strategy" that researchers know works time and time and time again.
When is this not needed?
A frequent reader is someone defined as reading on their own five to seven days a week. If your reader is doing this and would rather read on their own than you reading to them, then by all means, this should continue to happen. However, if your reader doesn't read on their own or fights reading on their own, then pick up a book and read it to them.
Do they continue to fight you?
My question is this: what are you picking to read? Do they get to pick? How are you reading it? Does your voice portray the emotions the author is trying to depict? I have a ton of questions that I'd ask to pinpoint why they fight reading. If this is you, contact me. I can help!
But if you're interested in more (because there is always more), I have a workshop Friday afternoon, May 8 at 2:00 (tomorrow) that will give you the following:
🔐 Effective Strategies for Elementary & Secondary Students that parents can easily implement
🔐 How to quickly and easily plan ahead for your summer
🔐 What the research says about motivating the unmotivated reader
🔐 What students really need to grow as a learner
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the invitation. Can't wait to see you there!
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