Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It's Not Too Late for Summer Reading

Summer is almost over and the kids are headed back to school in a couple of weeks (at least, here in Florida). For all my Northern peeps--lucky you!--you still have about another month to go before the school year begins.

Being an avid reader and having a passion for reading, I came across this article in the New York Times the other day: Summer must-read for kids--any book. In summary, the article encourages parents and caregivers to promote reading over the summer to not only to have children retain reading skills, but also enhance those skills. And I'm all for that!

It's only natural that children, especially older children (5th grade and above), will become lackadaisical over the summer; after all, school's out. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2009 report card, the national average for reading among fourth graders was higher in 2009 than in 1992, but "not significantly different than 2007." [source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 1992, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009 Reading Assessments. web source]

It's our responsibility as parents (and caregivers) to encourage reading. As Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute, states:
 "A child's interests are a door into the room of reading...If your child is turned off by reading, getting them to read anything is better than nothing."
I've done that with my son who loathes reading but he's "strongly encouraged" to read anyway. What I've done is allow him to pick out topics that interest him--sports, history--even books about video games (ugh). And it's not just limited to books; magazines or any other print media that is age appropriate. The proof of this reading push is in his grades and FCAT score. (And I strongly detest the FCAT--Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test; but that is an entry for another day.)

My daughter is an avid reader just like her mommy! :-)
I don't have to poke and prod her to read; she loves to read, which is demonstrated in her comprehension levels, language skills, and ability to express herself verbally and in writing.

Another interesting side note in this article was that:
Surprisingly, the most popular book during the first year of the Florida study was a biography of Britney Spears.
Now I don't know how long ago that study was conducted, considering quite a few pop culture tween icons have come and gone since Britney (I guess she's an 'old lady' now--hee, hee). And as much as it bothers me that a biography on BS (hmm, "BS"--how appropriate) was the "most popular book," at least kids were reading--and hopefully learning what NOT to do.

My point: Reading opens the mind, increases knowledge, and can be fun.

I realize this blog topic is lighthearted, but since this is my first "official" posting to the blog, I thought it would be best to begin with a neutral topic. I'm saving the "heavy artillery" for another day!


Jevon Oakman Bolden said...

Hey! What a great post. Reading is so important. It opens the mind and expands the imagination. It also helps a person to connect and relate with people from all walks of life. You can walk in someone's shoes without walking in their shoes.

My daughter loves to read and I am declaring that my 4-year-old son loves to read as well. He goes to pre-k this year. I know he will be like a sponge. My children have seen both of their parents engulfed in books so I hope we are creating a literary (and musical) culture for our future generations.

I'm very excited about your blog and can't wait to read more.


Kellymichele said...

This is great! We put Sarah into the UCF reading program. Wow, I think I learned more about how to guide her in her reading. I learned what type of books she would enjoy, and that with her it's not about how long she reads it's more about let's read 2 chapter tonight, or read to page 50. That motivates her! I know this year she will rock her AR (accelerated reading) points at school. Taylor on the other hand who loaths reading as well, gets by on her own. Can't complain, never gets below a B, in honor and AP classes. BTW, the comment section needs Spell check, for me ;)