Summer Learning: How to create a positive summer reading experience

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Summer vacation is supposed to be a break from the usual routine of school, but many parents worry their kid’s reading skills will digress without some sort of action plan.  According to the "Kids and Family Reading Report," a survey done by Scholastic, an American publishing company, those fears might not be far from the truth for some.

Scholastic’s most recent report showed that among kids ages 9-11, 14% did not read any books during the summer of 2018, compared with 7% in 2016. Among kids ages 15-17, 32% did not ready any books during the summer of 2018, compared with 22% in 2016. 

Now, before you hit the panic button, it’s important to let you know that the same report found that nearly 60% of kids ages 6-17 did have a positive experience reading books over the summer.  So, what can you do as a parent to help increase your child’s odds of having a positive reading experience during their time off from school? 

First, give your child permission to read as many books as possible this summer for pleasure.  Let them choose their own books whether they are easy or hard, long or short.  The truth is that it doesn’t matter as long as they enjoy them.   Also, let them know that you are not going to ask them questions to find out whether they understood the books or not.  If they can understand enough of a book to enjoy it and want to go on reading it, then let them!

Secondly, if a child doesn’t want to finish a book they’ve started, that’s okay!  They should give an author a chance to get the story going, but if they don’t like the characters and don’t care what happens to them, it’s perfectly okay to find a different book.

Lastly, you must keep in mind that reading is reading regardless of the venue.  Let your child select what they want to read from hard cover books and magazines to online versions.  Giving a child permission to read for pleasure will be the best thing you can do for them over the summer!  Too often, reading is associated with comprehension questions and vocabulary checks.  When you remove them, reading for pleasure becomes the focus!

Summer Learning: How to Keep Language Arts Skills Sharp

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Slurpees, sunshine, swimming, sunbathing, relaxing, travel, camping, barbecues, bike rides, fireworks, friends, and LANGUAGE ARTS! Of course, summer vacation might include some of these foot-loose and fancy-free things, but it’s also an opportunity to keep parents engaged in their child’s learning over the summer months.

Remember, the key to success in whatever you want to do is setting goals for yourself. Encourage families to set short and long term academic goals for the summer. (I've included a great bonus lesson on Setting Goals at the end of this post!)

Here are three great ways to keep your child's Language Arts skills sharp this summer:

1. Summer Reading

Check out your school’s suggested Reading List or get started with the list below to keep your students reading fluently! (Need more book ideas? Be sure to check out the suggested reading list located in the back of your Shurley English Teacher's Manual.)

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2. Question & Answer Flow Practice

Keep the Shurley English Question & Answer Flow fresh in students’ minds! You can create your own summer practice packet from sentences found in your Shurley English workbook, or you can purchase a Sentence Booklet that contains new sentences to classify. Either way, you'll be sure to keep those classification skills sharp and automatic with Q&A Flow practice. 

 

 

3. Reflective Journal

Create a reflective journal to document the summer break. Fill this journal with creative drawings, poems, homemade songs/raps, and free writing about unique summer experiences. Journaling gives learners a chance to really tap into their creative side and get outside the rigid box of structured writing. (I encourage you to learn more about the value of journaling here.)

 

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.” This summer, I challenge you to keep what your children have learned throughout the school year in sight. Keep their minds sharp and know that you are supporting their growth towards confident, competent communication!

 

BONUS LESSON: Setting Goals

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Kimberly Crady

Kimberly Crady is an adventurous woman with an immense love for life, learning, and teaching. After teaching in upper elementary classrooms for nearly 10 years, she joined the Shurley Team in 2005.  Kimberly has had the unique experience of teaching Shurley English lessons in all levels, Kindergarten-8th grade and training teachers across the United States.  Kimberly is a National Consultant and SEDA Teacher for Shurley Instructional Materials.

 

Kimberly’s passion for helping people and living a healthy lifestyle has led her to continue her education in the area of Health and Wellness.  She enjoys numerous outdoor activities from hiking and snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains to paddle boarding in the ocean; although, these days you can find her practicing hot yoga in a Bikram Yoga studio. She also enjoys traveling abroad, live music, reading, and spending time with her favorite mutt, Lu.  Kimberly’s experience as a Certified Health & Wellness Coach and Teen Life Coach helps support her firm belief in teaching the whole person, especially in the classroom.