I’m over at Parent.co today writing about the importance of summer reading. Read, enjoy, then grab a book with someone you love!
As a literacy coach, it sometimes pains me that books are not always my kids go to activity. They are much more likely to pick up their technology, their art supplies, or the toad that lives in the backyard when they want to unwind. While these can all be great ways to spend time and can even be great for your brain, they cannot replace having a rich reading life.
I have such great memories of getting lost in books for days as a kid and I want this for them, too. And there are so many other reasons beyond just wanting to recreate my childhood joy with them. I know now what I didn’t know then, that reading is one of the things that has the biggest impact on our kids academically. The Research Journal of the American Association of School Librarians has found that “The amount of free reading done outside of school has consistently been found to relate to growth in vocabulary, reading comprehension, verbal fluency, and general information. Students who read independently become better readers, score higher on achievement tests in all subject areas, and have greater content knowledge than those who do not.” These are things which, of course, I care about, but most importantly reading opens up new worlds and ways of thinking to them while they sit on the couch. Amazing stuff.
Most of the research around reading points us in a direction that makes it easy for us as parents to help kids. According to the American Library Association, it’s actually ridiculously simple. Kids become better readers by reading. A lot. They should choose the books they read and books they choose should be ones that they can easily read in a week or two all on their own. Kids should have a chance to talk about what they are reading, ask questions and share their thinking. Done and done.
Using these basics and keeping all the extra teacher stuff that crowds my brain out of the equation (I am sometimes tempted to do comprehension checks and reading conferences, but this is reading for pleasure so that might get in the way of their fun. I don’t want to be a reading fun-killer), I set up our summer reading kick off. My goal: to make it simple and something that would run itself once we got started. Here it is: