“Many parents remember their own childhood summers as true respites from school, devoid of the rigor and rigidity of academic life. Summer was a sprawling mass of unstructured time that ranged from idyllic laziness to stupefying boredom,” says author Leslie Crawford in a recent Great Kids! article.
Not so today. In addition to packets, assignments, workbook problems and pre-AP class work, most students (particularly high-achieving, college-bound high school students) must contend with an oftentimes lengthy required summer reading list.
Why do students have a summer reading list anyway?
According to Harris Cooper, chairman of the department of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, “There is growing concern about the summer vacation’s possible negative impact on learning. Many educators argue that children learn best when instruction is continuous. The long summer vacation disrupts the rhythm of instruction, leads to forgetting, and requires time be spent reviewing old material when students return to school in fall.”
And, hard research backs up this theory. Statistics from the National Summer Learning Association are alarming:
- All young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. Research spanning 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer (White, 1906; Heyns, 1978; Entwisle & Alexander 1992; Cooper, 1996; Downey et al, 2004).
- Low-income students lose more than two months in reading achievement (Cooper, 1996).
- More than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college (Alexander et al, 2007).
Tips to help parents motivate… not nag
- A little procratination is okay. A break from school in June is probably much-needed. By the time the July 4th holiday is over, however, students need to get in gear, especially if their list is lengthy.
- Let them choose a “fun” book to start. Ease into the list with a book that they might have read for pleasure anyway.
- Taking notes while reading helps jog the memory in September when tested. Post-its Notes are easy and feel a lot less like work than a standard notebook.
- Set a “drop-dead deadline” for completion of the list. This should be well in advance of the start of school in case additional help is needed.
- Emcourage reading in a fun way. Have a hammock? A lawn chair in the shade? A beanbag on the porch? All will make reading feel less like a chore and more like a lazy summer day.
- Upon completion, offer a reward for a job well done!
Summer Reading help in Delaware
If you typically spend your summer reminding your student to finish his required summer reading, Back to Basics Learning Dynamics in Wilmington, Delaware can help!
Our experienced instructors will work 1-on-1 with your student to read, comprehend, retain and apply summer reading material. These sessions will provide students with the knowledge and confidence to complete any required reading-related assignments, such as reports, projects and tests.
Back to Basics’ tutors are available to travel to your home, day camp, or office, or work with your student at our Newark or Wilmington locations.
Back to Basics Learning Dynamics is the undisputed leader in 1-on-1 tutoring in Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania for over 60 subjects. The company also offers 1-on-1 SAT Prep, ACT Prep and Test Prep, translating and interpreting in 16+ languages, homeschool support, educational testing and more. For more information about Back to Basics’ educational services, please call us at 302-594-0754.
The company also operates a unique Department of Education-approved 1-on-1 K-12 Private School in Wilmington, Delaware. For more information about Delaware’s only Department of Education approved 1-on-1 private school, please call us at 302-594-0685.