A quick summer hello from Villa di Maria! As we just pass the mark of being one month out of school, we wanted to offer some thoughts for this special time of year. Read on to hear what our fabulous Reading Specialist, Melissa Fox, suggests to keep reading and working memory going over the summer!
Happy Summer! When I dream of summer, I think of a less hectic lifestyle, enjoying a book under a tree, and sleeping in a bit later each day. If your family is similar to my family, we savor each day of summer break. I am a realist however and also understand that summer also leads to more distractions and screen time, quite a few arguments with my children, and I also worry about the “summer slide” in my children’s academic progress.
Following are a few tips that help me as a parent as I attempt to combat academic loss in the area of literacy that can happen over the summer.
1) Make reading enjoyable and part of your everyday routine. Days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months. To not let time slip away, make reading something you do 15 minutes every day. 15 minutes of reading a day is a magical number according to the latest studies.
2) LISTEN to books! Listening to literature is one of the TOP ways to increase overall literacy skills for ALL age levels. Increased reading levels, fluency, comprehension, visualization, and vocabulary ALL increase with listening to books. If you can’t fit in the 15 minutes of reading regularly, this is a super substitution. No, you don’t have to follow along with the book to reap the benefits. You can get audiobooks from the library, there are many online sources, and Audible.com has a few free titles. If audiobooks are new to you, give it a try! It takes at least 30 minutes of listening to get accustomed. Start with fun, short texts.
• One of my favorites for toddlers is The Frogs Wore Red Suspenders by Jack Prelutsky.• For early elementary school children, My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett was a home run for all three of my children. The Henry Huggins and Ramona Quimby series are also good places to start.
• For upper elementary children, the lists are endless! Find a genre your child enjoys. Is there a series your child would like to read but the books are too long? This could be a great place to start.
4) Keep the working memory active over the summer months. Reading requires A LOT of working memory skills. A reader must tie sight words, phonetic skills, language structure, and visualization together. Learning chess is one of the most trusted ways of improving the working memory! If you haven’t checked out the St. Louis Chess Club, I highly suggest you do.
5) Put a timer on screens. I am the first to admit, I get all of my newspapers online, I keep up with bills, and much of my communication is done in front of a blue screen. To help combat this, we use timers. An old fashion kitchen timer works. My family also invested in a Disney Circle about 3 years ago. We have the first generation devise that currently sells for $23.00 and plugs into your home router. It has time limits, age screening, and will even turn your child’s screens off until they do their chores for the day.
Thank you Melissa for keeping us focused during the summer! All best to all of you!