Instilling the joy of reading in your child can be challenging – but rewarding.
With the summer months upon us, it’s the perfect time to get regular reading habits onto your kid’s radar to not only help them productively fill their time away from school, but also lay the foundation for learning and growth for years to come.
“Reading is key to success in school and beyond,” says Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer at Scholastic. “Kids who are readers are better informed and can also be inspired to learn more and do more from keeping fit to making things, to sharing and even to making positive contributions in their communities.“
Working across all of Scholastic’s divisions to create educational products and services, and with experience teaching students ranging from kindergarten through to college, Alexander is adamant that reading enables kids to keep momentum in the summer months so as not to lose what they learned in their prior school year.
“Research shows that if kids don’t read books over the summer, they will suffer from the effects of the ‘summer slide’ – the loss of key learning skills during the summer vacation,” Alexander explains. “But if kids just read at least four books at their level, they can prevent the effects and even increase their skills and potential to do better on standardized tests in the fall when they go back to school.”
Despite the obvious benefits that come with reading, parents need to ensure their kids see the fun in such a valuable habit. With so many other enticing activities that can pull kids away from reading – from playing outside, video games, or just sitting in front of the TV – it’s important to make sure children see reading as another fun option to spending their time in between school.
Alexander says that parents should make sure kids see reading as entertainment, rather than a summer-form of homework is necessary to engage kids with books.
“Kids can experience so many different things through reading books – from visiting faraway places, to learning about really cool people or events,” Alexander suggests. “If travel plans are not on the family agenda this summer, why not go away through a book?”
More than speaking to your kids about the excitement a written story can bring, allowing kids to express their independence by allowing them to choose their own books is another way to get them reading.
“Having that power of choice, will really engage kids and get them excited to find books that meet their interests,” says Alexander. “If your child is a huge sports fan, let him or her choose sports books off the shelves…a recent study, the Kids and Family Reading Report, found that kids are more likely to read books for fun when they select the books themselves.”
Scholastic’s ABCs of Summer Reading:
A – Read ANYTIME, ANYWHERE: Read on the beach, at the pool or restaurant or while waiting online at the amusement park, books are travel-friendly and always good to have on hand for all ages.
B – Go BEYOND the BOOK: Make reading a fun and social activity and create a summer book club with friends, or extend the reading experience online. Find websites about favourite authors or books, or visit sites like the Scholastic Summer Challenge, where kids can log their minutes read to read for the world record.
C – Let kids CHOOSE the books they want to read.
To support summer reading, Scholastic is hosting their Summer Challenge, together with Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and the National Summer Learning Association. The challenge – get kids reading to set a new Read for the World Record by logging their minutes of reading online through the summer months and can even earn rewards. Go to www.scholastic.com/summer for more information on the Scholastic Summer Challenge.
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