There are things that happen every summer in the kingdom of kids — snow balls, sleepovers, camp and the summer slide. The latter is what happens when kids give their brains a serious break for the entire summer, something educators work to avoid. And you can, too.
“There is something I call the ‘summer slide’... If kids don’t keep up with their reading skills during the summer months they can regress or slide backwards and lose the skills they learned during the school year,” says librarian Paula Graffeo of J. Wallace James Elementary. “It’s possible that they could start the new school year not being ready for the new school year of work; they could start the new year at a deficit.”
Graffeo encourages her students and her own children to read all summer long and join the Lafayette Public Library System’s summer reading program. She says it’s simple to just keep track of books on your own list. And Graffeo also jumps on the reading bandwagon.
“I’ve also joined the Adult Summer Reading program with the Lafayette Public Library. I believe as parents we must lead by example,” Graffeo says.
According to the National Summer Learning Association, “Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. Low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement, despite the fact that their middle-class peers make slight gains.”
The good news is that access to a public library is the only tool really needed to stay on point all summer long. The alarming news, according to a recent survey from the NSLA, is that most parents don’t really buy the idea of summer slide: “Six out of 10 [parents] aren’t convinced of that, and half said their kids spend more than twice as much time online or watching television as they do with books.”
Sarah Pitcock, chief executive of the NSLA, explains that online time is not the same as reading a book even when it involves reading.
“You’re jumping around a lot, from page to page, article to article, with a simple tap of the finger,” she said in a recently released statement from NSLA. “Books are really great for giving some of that sort of longevity and continuity in reading that enables students to really focus.”
BOOKS FOR EVERY CHILD
Scholastic picks for children ages 8 to 10
(Head to scholastic.com for a bevy of lists for every kind of reader in your life.)
The Boy Who Saved Baseball
by John H. Ritter
Twelve-year-old Tom Gallagher loves baseball. He also loves the old ballpark in his hometown, which is about to be destroyed. Tom finds himself in a tight spot. The fate of Dillontown, his small California town, rests on the outcome of one baseball game, winner take all.
My Side of the Mountain
by Jean Craighead George Illustrated by Jean Craighead George
Fifteen-year-old Sam Gribley has decided to run away from his crowded apartment home, but unlike most kids who rarely get beyond their block, Sam goes from New York City all the way to the ruined farm of Great-grandfather Gribley in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York.
Pirateology: The Pirate Hunter’s Companion
by William Captain Lubber
Aar! Hoist the sails for a lavish new discovery filled with treasures — a magnificent resource for pirate lovers everywhere. The eagerly awaited new title in the best-selling “Ology” series.
Because of Winn-Dixie
by Kate DiCamillo
Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni’s mother walked out on her seven years ago, and she’s been asking about her ever since — so that she won’t forget her mom.
The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg
by Rodman Philbrick
A dramatic, witty Civil War tale from a bestselling author
The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman Illustrated by Dave McKean
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be “completely” normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.