Keeping Reading Skills Sharp

Ask the Experts by Nick Smith

Q: My child has worked so hard during the school year to become a stronger reader. How do I keep his reading skills sharp, during the summer months, especially when he does not enjoy reading?

A: A common concern among parents, especially those who have children that struggle with reading, is what to do over the summer months so that the skills attained during the school year do not regress. According to a report released by RAND Corporation, the average summer learning loss in reading for American students amounts to one month per year.

Eventually, year-round schools will be the norm, and there will be no need for concern. Indeed there are already year-round choices in many districts. Slowly but surely, the realization that children are no longer needed to tend to the crops during the summer months is resulting in reform. Until that time, reading routines that had been established during the school year should continue without interruption during the summer months.

Summer should not be viewed as a vacation from learning. For example, if your child was required by the teacher to read 15 minutes per day during the school year, the same requirement should be continued over the summer.

If reading a book a month was the requirement, then it should be a book a month over the summer as well. Of course, accommodations that had been established during the school year could be part of the summer routine, if applicable.

Also consider enrolling your child in an academic program immediately following the end of the school year. Be it through the school, the library or a tutoring center, summer enrichment or remediation programs will provide the necessary consistency to not only keep skills from regressing, but in some instances, help skills to progress, making for a successful start to the new school year and beyond. Enjoy summer in Michigan!

Nick Smith is the Director of Tutoring at Brainspring Learning Centers. Brainspring has 11 locations throughout Southeastern Michigan. Brainspring’s Phonics First® tutoring services provide individualized instruction to learners who either struggle with or seek enrichment in any academic subject. For more information on the tutoring services available in the Grosse Pointe area, please call 248.645.9690 or visit Brainspring is a member of The Family Center’s Association of Professionals.

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