At the end of the school year, I always recommend that my students continue to read everyday over the summer. I hope that they are learning to love reading; that they'll curl up under a shady tree, at the beach or in the backseat on a long car trip with a book that they just can't put down. I know for some, this will be a chore. It's amazing, however, how much can be lost or forgotten over a few weeks, let alone a few months. This advice comes from my personal experience and knowledge as a teacher. It's always seemed like common sense and I never felt the need to find supporting evidence. In looking at recommended summer reading lists, I recently came across an article at Reading is Fundamental called Keeping Kids Off the Summer Slide that reinforced the importance of reading over the summer. Here's what that authors of a 2002 report done by Johns Hopkins' Center for Summer Learning said,
A conservative estimate of lost instructional time is approximately two months or roughly 22 percent of the school year.... It's common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer. That month of re-teaching eliminates a month that could have been spent on teaching new information and skills."
The "summer slide" impacts reading progress and growth over the summer as well as into the next school year. I want kids to begin their new academic year with solid reading skills. Although, I alos hope they make gains in reading over the summer, I don't want my students to lose any ground with all they've learned in second grade.
There are many summer reading lists out there. Here's one the fabulous librarians at my school put together. RIF's 2007 Summer Reading Guide also has other wonderful reading lists, incentives and tips for kids and grownups to prevent summer learning loss. Happy Summer Reading!