• Taking the slide out of summer

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    JOCELYN LAUREL

    Summer is a time that all school-aged children look forward to. However, many parents overlook the importance of adding summer reading into their children’s vacation.

    The season is an important time for students to keep reading and improve their language skills. Studies show that children who haven’t been reading regularly during the their vacation are in danger of what is called a “summer slide,” or a decline in their reading ability. Regardless of their achievement levels, all kids should be provided with as many reading experiences as possible.

    Moreover, many studies also show that when children don’t make reading a habit during the summertime, their reading abilities dip. This is more noticeable as they get older and advance in grade level, making them more likely to fall behind their peers.

    Laurie Calvert, Director of Teacher Outreach in North Carolina, USA, likens reading to playing an instrument, “It’s like if you play an instrument but put it down for three months, you’re not going to be as good as a person who continues to play the instrument over those three months.”

    In an academic thesis she wrote on improving summer reading programs, Professor Calvert proposes that to avoid a “summer slide,” children should be as engaged as possible in whatever they choose to read.

    “Anything that keeps students reading works,” Calvert said. “The more engaged they are in the text, the closer they’re going to read it. The closer they read it, the more they comprehend. And that process grows their skill.”

    Here are tips from the professor:
    Encourage your children to read books they enjoy for at least 30 minutes per day. Your child will likely be more engrossed in material they choose themselves than those forced on them.

    Provide incentives for reluctant readers. For example, if your child enjoys basketball, agree to allow them to play if they do their “daily reading.”

    Make reading a social act. Establish a time during the day when all members of the family gather and read on their own, or take turns reading the same book aloud.

    Connect your reading to family outings. If you take your kids to an aquarium, consider reading a book about fish or the ocean with them later that day. The outing can help place the reading into a broader context.

    The quality of the material that students read is also extremely important because it varies so much. Here is a short list of well-loved books you may wish to get for kids ages 1 to 12:

    Books for All Ages
    The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
    Where the Sidewalk Ends: the Poems and Drawing of Shel Silverstein by Shel Silverstein
    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
    The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
    Heidi by Johanna Spyri

    Books for Preschoolers
    The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
    Goodnight
    Moon by Margaret Wise
    Brown, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Bill Martin, Jr.,
    The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
    Corduroy by Don Freeman
    The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
    The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise
    Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

    Books for Children Ages 4 to 8
    The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
    The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
    Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
    Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch
    Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
    The Mitten by Jan Brett,
    Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
    Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
    Strega Nona by Tomie De Paola
    The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
    How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
    The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
    ChickaChicka Boom Boom by John Archambault
    The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
    If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura JoffeNumeroff
    The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
    Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
    Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
    Math Curse by Jon Scieszka
    Are You My Mother? by Philip D. Eastman
    The Napping House by Audrey Wood
    Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
    The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
    Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
    Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus
    The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
    Curious George by Hans Augusto Rey
    Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox
    Arthur series by Marc Tolon Brown
    Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
    The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
    Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
    The Art Lesson by Tomie De Paola
    Caps for Sale by EsphyrSlobodkina
    Clifford, the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell
    The Paper Bag Princess by Robert N. Munsch

    Books for Children Ages 9 to 12
    Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
    Bridge to Terabithia by Kathe­rine Paterson
    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
    Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
    The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
    Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
    The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
    Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
    Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
    The BFG by Roald Dahl
    The Giver by Lois Lowry James
    Giant Peach: A Children’s Story by Roald Dahl
    Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
    Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
    Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
    Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
    Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O’Brien
    The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
    Matilda by Roald Dahl
    Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
    Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
    The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White
    The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
    Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
    Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
    The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
    Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
    Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
    Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
    A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
    Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater
    My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
    Stuart Little by E. B. White
    Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
    The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
    The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
    Happy reading!

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