My STEM Units

Friday, May 9, 2014

STEAMing Ahead to Stop the Summer Slide: Reading

Summer slide is the phenomenon where students lose concepts learned the prior year.  Experts have estimated that teachers spend over one month reteaching those concepts when school does resume.  Summer slide has also been targeted as a major cause of achievement gap in students. (click on the infographic to the right)

Believe it or not, school will be out in a few short weeks.  Parents and teachers need to have a plan to help prevent summer slide.  Join me in the month of May as I share ideas for parents and teachers to minimize loss and maybe even promote growth! 

An article from RIFAccording to the authors of a report from the National Summer Learning Association: "A conservative estimate of lost instructional time is approximately two months or roughly 22 percent of the school year.... It's common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer. That month of re-teaching eliminates a month that could have been spent on teaching new information and skills."


1.  Read, read, and read some more: Parents can set up a daily routine which includes at least 20 minutes of reading.  Before establishing your routine, talk to your kids.  Are they early risers and are more alert in the early hours of the day?  Do they seldom rise before noon and can function just fine into the wee hours?  Better yet, maybe the best time is directly after lunch, when they have to wait for digestion before jumping in the pool.  Either way, stick with your routine until it becomes automatic.  You might want to read during this time, also.  Children mimic what they see.  Let them see you reading that magazine or that great novel you haven't had time for yet.

2.  Host a Reading Party:  If summer days were made for swimming, summer nights were made for sleepover parties.  To help stop the summer slide, transform the sleepover parties into Reading Parties.  Guests bring their favorite books, sleeping bags, and pillows.  Imagine the conversations around the living room as the boys talk about the shark facts they just read or comparing the main character in Hatchet to the main character in Sign of the Beaver.  With some planning, the Reading Party could be a child-sized book club with themed food and decorations (done by your budding reader).

3.  Refresh their home library:  If your house is anything like mine, there are books literally everywhere.  Some books get read over and over again, whilst some just sit and collect dust.  Even though we have well over 100 books, my boys still ask for new books all the time.  I found a great website where we can post our books we don't want anymore.  In exchange, we get to "order" books we do want.  There is no money exchanged, save the postage you pay to mail your book.  It's a win-win in that we de-clutter our bookshelves and get "new" books for free.

4.  Go to the local library:  Most public libraries have summer reading programs.  For instance, our library system has the children track their books read on a winding path.  When the kids reach milestones, they can go to the library to get small prizes.  Many libraries also have children's programs during the day.  Programs vary but might include puppet shows, arts and crafts, and sing-alongs.

5.  Go to the Virtual Library:  If you have a smartphone or tablet, you can download books for your young reader.  Many operating systems have eReaders, similar to Kindle.  If you live in Arizona, Read On Arizona has a special offer for you.  Read On Arizona has partnered with MyON (an online library) to provide access to over 7,000 books for free.  Go to MyON's website and click login.  Use school name: Read On Arizona with the username and password "read".  You can search by genre, title, or by using the Advanced button, you can search by grade level.

6.  Set reading goals:  At the beginning of summer, set reading goals with your child.  Perhaps they want to read the whole Harry Potter series.  Or maybe they want to read 25 books.  Whatever their goal, write it on the calendar.  For instance, let's say your summer break is the whole of June and July.  Put their goal at the end of July.  Now, calculate half of the summer.  In this case, that would be the end of June.  Write half their goal on that date (say 13 books by this date).  As that date approaches, check in with your child to see if they are on track to reach their goal.  With a little planning, your reader can write a letter to themselves, to be delivered half-way into summer.  Their letter could ask "Am I on track to reach my goal?"  If they have reached their goal, you might want to set a new higher goal, or reward them with a new book of their choice.

7.  Enter a Reading Challenge:  "The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is a free online program designed to motivate and excite your kids around reading books this summer. Kids can log the minutes they spend reading, earn virtual rewards and prizes, and enter sweepstakes, all in an effort to set a new reading world record for summer 2015!"

This list is not meant to be exhaustive.  A quick search on Pinterest will yield hundreds of boards and pins dedicated to preventing summer slide.  Adventures in LiteracyLand has a great list of reading programs for readers.  Examples include RAZ Kids and Snap.  Keep the conversation going and post your favorite tips for preventing the summer slide in the comments below.

STEAMing Ahead to Stop the Summer Slide: Science
STEAMing Ahead to Stop the Summer Slide: Technology
STEAMing Ahead to Stop the Summer Slide: Engineering
STEAMing Ahead to Stop the Summer Slide: Math
STEAMing Ahead to Stop the Summer Slide: Math Part 2
STEAMing Ahead to Stop the Summer Slide: Activities

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