by Jo Ann LoRusso, Early Education Committee
When should parents begin to prepare children to go back to school? Because students experience significant learning loss when they do not participate in educational activities during the summer months, preparation should be all summer. Reading just 4-5 books during the summer can prevent a decline in a child’s fall reading scores as they return to school.
Reading during the summer should not be stressful or rigid. Find fun books at the library that capture your child’s interest. For example, if your child likes sports, try reading Bobby Monster Plays Baseball! by Gillian Rogerson. Bobby is a pink monster who likes to try new things and signs up to play baseball, but he doesn’t even know what baseball is!
If your child likes to laugh, read books like Amelia Bedelia Makes a Friend (I Can Read Book 1) by Herman Parish and Lynne Avril. Amelia takes everything literally which makes for funny situations. Or, read Gregory, the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat. Gregory is a goat, and his parents think he’s weird because he likes fruits and vegetables and not tires, cans and junk.
As you read books like these and others, consider making everyday moments teachable moments based on the book that you’re reading. For example, after you read Gregory, the Terrible Eater, use the book as a guide for the following activities: at the grocery store Ã¢â‚¬“ choose a letter (g) and have your child find that letter on products like green grapes, granola, and grits. Make the sound of the letter (ga, ga) on the products. In the car: play “I Spy” games by finding the letter (g) around town such as garage or the color gray. At home: talk about vegetables and fruits that you eat at home, such as what color are they? How do they taste? How do they smell? What do you like best? This is also a good opportunity to try a new food that is inspired by the books. Children will appreciate reading more when they can relate the stories to their lives.