For many families, those three words, Back to School, bring dread and despair. If your kids are past their preschool years, there's a good chance their summer reading book is still in the Borders bag and the packet of work they need to turn in next September is in a corner somewhere collecting dust. No worries.
Experts say that summer is all about family experiences that enrich children's lives and bring a broader understanding of the world around them. Visits to the library, the park, and even a ballgame provide shared experiences that are invaluable. Tomorrow's blog will talk more about that, but today I want to focus on summer reading, and share advice from Farrah Koonce, Principal of the Clara Barton Elementary School in Cherry Hill.
She suggests that there are many ways to keep students from regressing over the summer. “They should engage in some academic stimulation, whether it’s reading, writing, or mathematics,” explains Dr. Koonce. “They need to just be doing something to keep their brains active. Doing something to stimulate their brain is critical.”
For example, visit the library and help your child independently choose a book that interests her. Violeta Katsikis, Instructional Support Specialist at Clara Barton Elementary School, provides guidelines to help kids choose appropriate books. Ask yourself these questions. If the answer is YES, this book is probably a JUST – RIGHT book for you. JUST – RIGHT books help you learn the MOST because you can figure out most of the words and you can UNDERSTAND what’s going on in the book.
1. Is this an interesting book that you want to read?
2. Do you know the author or anything about the topic?
3. Can you tell another person what is happening in the story or
something you have learned?
4. Do you sometimes need to reread a part to understand it?
5. Are there just a few (2 or 3) words per page that you do not know?
6. When you read are most places smooth and some choppy?
Hopefully, you parents are reading, too. When kids see that their parents have a love for reading, it will make them that much more interested in trying it for themselves. And, they don't need to read novels. Experts agree that reading anything is good, be it comic books, magazines, or even the cereal box. It's amazing how much vocabulary kids can pick up by reading just about anything.
When my kids were younger, I often read their summer reading books. Many of them were wonderful, and it gave us a chance to discuss the book together.
Check out the August issue of SJ Magazine for more tips on things you can do with your kids this summer to make school even more successful next fall. The most important thing is to spend time doing activities together.