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Summer vacation for FresYes kiddos has officially begun! With summer’s carefree days of sun, swimming, barbecues and friends comes one little problem: summer learning loss. The phrase is being heard more often and morphed a bit too, as you may have heard it referred to as the “summer slide.” Call it what you like, but the reality is when kids stop all educational activities for the summer, they can lose as much as two months of what they learned in the previous school year. That’s equal to one fifth of an entire year. Or, put another way, a loss of 26 months (over 2.5 years of school learning!) over the course of a kindergarten through 12th grade school career.
I’ve worked in education for the last 14 years, however, I’m also a real life mom and know darn well that no child and likely no parent looks forward to a summer filled with drill and kill workbook sessions, and I don’t suggest that either. What I do suggest however, is keeping reading part of the daily routine throughout summer (even if it got away from you a bit during the school year, the summer is a great time to pick it back up). By setting aside just twenty minutes a day for children to read (or be read to) parents can significantly reduce the risk of summer learning loss and help ensure their kids return to school ready for success in the new year.
Here are some tips for making reading a fun summer habit for the kiddos of FresYes:
1. Participate in the Fresno County Library’s Summer Reading Program
Kids who complete the library’s summer reading log by reading ten books between June 14th and August 3rd can show their log to their librarian to earn special prizes as well as an entry to win a Kindle Fire. Stop by any Fresno County Library to pick up a reading log, as well as a schedule of the fun and educational activities scheduled at your favorite library branch including reptile presentations, magicians, crafts and more! For a full list of Fresno County Library locations and hours, click here.
2. Take a trip to the Scholastic Warehouse during their public sale
Just twice a year, the Scholastic Book Warehouse, which supplies the awesome books we all see at book fairs held at elementary schools across the Valley, opens its doors to the public so families, teachers, and school volunteers can stock up on great, brand new books for a fraction of their retail price. Typically, books are discounted at 50% off their regular price, and often as much as 80% off! Titles include many popular series for kids of all ages, beautiful hard cover story books and even novels and cookbooks for adults. To visit the FresYes Scholastic Warehouse during the sale, register for a Fast Pass (and money saving coupon!) here. The Fresno sale ends June 28th, and there is a LOT to see, so plan for at least an hour to look around. By stocking the home bookshelves with books your kids genuinely want to read, twenty minutes of daily reading feels more like fun than a chore.
3. Create a summer reading incentive chart
Charts make great visual tools for goal setting with kids. This free, downloadable one from Thirty Handmade Days is a great one to print out and use, as the reward for reading is special time together as a family instead or money or other tangible rewards. Print one for each child and keep them in a central location such as on a cork board or on the fridge.
By choosing books with your kids, sharing enthusiasm for the joy of reading for fun, and making reading a daily habit, parents can help children stay on track in school without having to give up too much fun-in-the-sun time, and when kids are doing well in school everyone benefits! Now go get some books! 🙂