Reading is, without a doubt, the most important learning skill that children need. They use it for the entire school year, in every subject. It helps them solve math problems, answer multiple-choice questions, and develop an understanding of history. They can’t follow textbook directions without it.
But what about in the summer? Is reading still as important when school is not in session and textbooks are shelved for the season?
It turns out that during the summer, reading becomes even more important. In fact, if there is only one activity that children should do this summer to keep their brains sharp, reading is it.
Here are just some of the reasons why:
- Reading skills need to progress continually for comprehension to develop. Reading skills are cumulative, so when children stop reading, their skills can plateau, or worse—drop. This is true for every school subject, but as reading is the baseline skill needed for school success, it is the most important one.
- Research shows that students who continue to read over the summer maintain their skill progression and even close up achievement gaps.
- Reading increases vocabulary, and vocabulary is consistently linked with higher intelligence.
- Studies show that reading proficiency in elementary school is the best predictor of high school success.
Maybe not so surprisingly, the single biggest obstacle to summer reading is as simple as not having access to books. If kids run of out interesting, challenging books to read, they will find other activities to occupy their time—TV, video games, social media, napping…not that there is anything wrong with these activities, but they are not activities that provide significant academic advantages to students.
So, what can parents do to ensure that their kids have their noses in the books this summer?
The simple answer is: make sure that a wide variety books is constantly available in the home where kids can access them at any time.
Some ideas to keep the supply of books plentiful:
- Visit the library frequently.
- Create a neighbourhood book trade program.
- Make a reading website the home page on your computer.
- Download reading apps to smart phones and tablets.
- Sign up for reading challenges online or at the library.
- Use the suggested reading feature at bookstores.
- Give books as gifts and ask for books as gifts.
Bonus tip for reluctant readers: parents should create a reading routine in the home for ALL family members because the best way that parents can encourage regular reading is by being readers themselves.
Oxford Learning provides supplemental education services across North America. It offers programs for young people from preschool through university, and its cognitive approach goes beyond tutoring to ignite a lifelong love of learning. Find out more at http://www.OxfordLearning.com.
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