Even as Ohio children enjoy their summer vacation, educational experts say it’s important they find the time to sharpen their reading skills.
Janet Ingraham Dwyer, library consultant for the State Library of Ohio, says studies have confirmed that learning loss in the summer months can result in kids having to play catch-up at school in the fall.
“If a child is not engaging - with particularly reading, and other literacy activities - those skills are going to slip from lack of practice,” says Dwyer.
That loss, or “summer slide,” can be prevented through daily reading. Dwyer notes that summer reading programs are a great option to get children excited about reading, and libraries across the state offer programs that combine educational and fun activities for kids of all ages.
For children who are reluctant to read, Dwyer suggests allowing them to choose books on topics that interest them. Comic books, graphic novels and read-along audio books are good options for those who aren’t strong readers.
Above all, she says, reading should not be considered a chore.
“Reading for pleasure is such an important and profound experience,” says Dwyer. “The more a child likes to read and enjoys reading, and sees reading as an intrinsically satisfying and rewarding activity, the more that child is going to read.”
Parents can set good examples by reading themselves, or sitting down and enjoying a book with their child, she added.
A recent survey of 1,000 parents found only one in three reads with their child every night, and half said their children spend more time with TV or video games than books.
“The more that reading is a natural and normal part of what takes place in the family and in the household, the more in general the children, particularly younger children, will engage with it - because they are modeling what their parents do,” Dwyer says.