Summer is almost here! There are so many fun things for your students and/or your own children to do over the summer. They will be swimming, playing outside and more. While it is great to soak up the sun during the warm weather, it is also important to keep students reading to avoid the “Summer Slide”, which is learning loss that can happen if students are not engaging their minds for 3 months. According to the National Summer Learning Association, an average student loses about 2 months of grade level equivalency over the summer. However, you can combat the Summer Slide by encouraging your children to read over the summer. Here are 3 engagement strategies to get your children excited about summer reading! If you are a school teacher, you can send these tips home in your final newsletter to your student’s parents as you send them off for the summer. If you are a parent, be sure to start putting these engagement strategies into action NOW!
Engagement Strategy #1: A variety of texts.
Instead of reading the same types of books all summer, your child could be reading a graphic novel one week and a biography about a “cool” scientist the next week. That’s some great variety! Offering a variety of texts also gives kids choices. Children prefer to make their own decisions instead of being told what to read. I can not stress enough how important it is to help children to learn to LOVE reading! No matter the book, there is something to be learned from it. Allowing children to select their own texts makes reading more exciting for them, and that’s the goal!
Engagement Strategy #2: Setting Goals
Goals can be very motivating for children, especially when you help them to set their OWN goals. (This is important, as we discussed in the last engagement strategy. Autonomy is a HUGE motivator for kids!) When children set reasonable goals for themselves, they will be more motivated to try and reach them. A reading challenge is a great way to help students set summer reading goals. Just like children’s favorite sports and video games, a reading challenge will give your students something to work towards. This could be a summer reading program at a local library or even a family challenge.
|A challenge, such as my Summer Reading Challenge, can be very motivating!|
Engagement Strategy #3: Reading Together
When children read together with their families, it is a lot easier for children to create habits than if they are simply reading on their own. Reading together can be encouraged in several ways. You can read a book aloud with your children. This works especially well for younger children. If you have children at similar reading levels or an only child, you could choose one book that everyone in the family reads and have discussions about that book as a family. If your children are at a variety of reading levels, you could set aside a time each day that everyone spends reading. While everyone may be reading their own material, you are still reading together!
|Me reading with my own little guy!|
However you decide to encourage summer reading, keep these three engagement principles in mind. By using these suggestions, you will help your children to not only avoid the “Summer Slide”, but to learn to love reading! Remember my 3 engagement principles: 1) Variety of texts, 2) Setting Goals, and 3) Reading Together. If you use these three strategies, you’ll be sure to find time for reading in between all the other fun summer activities!
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