Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Summer Reading

According to Chartbeat, 55% of visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on a website. This statistic has me thinking about what it takes to absorb an idea— 15 minutes is not even enough time to stretch out a muscle let alone ponder and reflect on an idea.

Concentration and mindfulness are in short supply when we speak of Internet use but they are in abundance when it comes to reading a book. Statistics and scientific findings clearly show how reading is good for the brain. Dan Hurley’s featured 2013 PBS documentary feature, “ Smarter Brains,” tells a very compelling story.

In addition to helping develop healthy brains, working to full capacity, reading works to enlarge our humanity. It brings to mind a quote from Barry Lopez:

“The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed.  Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other’s memory.  This is how people care for themselves.”

The calendar tells us summer has arrived and when it comes to reading, many children experience the summer slide, something that happens when young minds sit idle for three months. We know that children who do not read over the summer will lose more than two months of reading achievement. Summer reading loss is cumulative. By the end of 6th grade children who lose reading skills over the summer will be 2 years behind their classmates. AND think about the cumulative loss of hours of pleasure, the pleasure found while being lost and absorbed in a book.

Tips to make summertime reading pleasurable
Help kids find time to read
Continue to read aloud
Combine activities with books
Visit the Library
Relax the rules for summer, encourage children to read what they choose
Lead by example: children need to see parents reading

The ALA website is a wonderful resource for families, offering book recommendation for all ages.

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