Saturday, June 9, 2012

Summer Slide

I was reading a column (How to Raise a Bookworm by Stephanie Weaver) in the US Weekend (May 11-13, 2012) insert to the Sunday paper recently that stated only one third of of our country's fourth graders read at or above grade level. I have a fourth-grader who until this year was a very reluctant reader, so this figure struck my attention.

The significance of this literacy issue can be further compounded by what educators call the Summer Slide where children who are left to direct their own time over the summer often fall further behind. This has become a hot-button for educators and parents in the years since a Johns Hopkins study comparing economically disadvantaged students with children from wealthier families who received more academic structure over their vacation was popularized in the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell several years ago.

Many libraries around the country offer reading programs to encourage kids to keep their mind active during the summer months away from school. Some incorporate educational and entertaining performances along with incentives for reaching reading milestones. Check out your local library and make sure the kids that you work with an care about have plenty to keep them active over the break.

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