Friday, June 24, 2011

☼ Summer is for Nonfiction Reading

Summer is now officially upon us.  
It’s time for playing in swimming pools, and catching lightning bugs. 
It’s time for family vacations and summer camps. 
It’s time for popsicles and s’mores.
But, hopefully for our children, it’s not time for the… Summer Slide. 

Best described by President Barack Obama, in his proclamation for National Summer Learning Day in 2009,  Obama said, "A child who takes long breaks from learning can face academic setbacks. This problem is especially prominent during the summer, when students may lose more than two months of progress."
In a 2002 report from Johns Hopkins Center for Summer Learning, they outlined, "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 students have forgotten over the summer. That month of re-teaching could have been spent on teaching new information and skills."
One highly recommended way to help avoid the Summer Slide is summer reading, fiction AND nonfiction.
This past month at Weber State University at the first day of a two-day conference for educators, the 27th annual Reading and Writing Conference, Terrell A. Young, a literacy education professor at Washington State University, further explained the benefits of nonfiction reading. Young said, "Children who are mainly nonfiction readers will do well reading fiction, but fiction readers will not do as well reading nonfiction.” Some examples of how reading nonfiction benefits the student includes: helps in learning to decode such visual clues as charts, graphs, diagrams, sidebars with specialized information and even the meaning of parentheses, learning to use an index and glossary, and learning that bold or italic words in text are of greater significance.

Don’t know about you, but I was so excited by all the support for Nonfiction books. While researching online, I found many libraries and schools, from around the country, with recommended summer books lists that contained a 50/50 ratio of fiction and nonfiction.

Let’s hear a huge “YAY” for Interesting Nonfiction books for Kids!

And, while we’re talking about nonfiction reading for this summer, I have to mention magazines for kids. Well, actually, I have to point out only one magazine: the July/August 2011 issue of Appleseeds (Carus) Magazine ~ “Let’s Play!"

Consulting Editor: Anna M. Lewis
"10 Ways to Play with Nothing but Your Imagination" by Anna M. Lewis

*I just got these delivered by the UPS guy, so I had to announce. 

So, as we set off to enjoy this summer, Let’s Play. And, I wish to you and your families lots of swinging on swings and sliding on slides – the playground kind, of course.  

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