The kids are soon to be out of school and that long-awaited Summer break is about to begin. You’re probably asking yourself… “long-awaited for whom?” As the kids are jumping for joy and can’t wait to make that first splash in the nearest pool, many parents are likely scratching their heads, pondering how to entertain the little rascals.
You can set your minds at ease, as I have the perfect solution. Enroll them in a Summer reading camp. Yeah, I know what you’re probably thinking right now. It hardly rivals the entertainment value of the neighborhood swimming pool, right? Not to mention the push-back your kids are likely to give when you propose such a brilliant idea. Don’t fret! Just because it’s called a Summer reading camp doesn’t mean it will monopolize the entire Summer. So, your kids can still enjoy all the traditional Summer activities and family vacations without missing a beat.
Most Summer reading camps are designed to provide enrichment and reduce anxiety leading into the following school year. Some reading camps devise creative ways to make the reading process fun. So, who knows—your kids may actually enjoy it! Here are the 5 most important reasons to enroll:
AVOID THE SUMMER SLIP
According to Oxfordlearning.com, “the first six weeks of fall are spent re-learning old material to makeup for Summer learning loss.” They went on to say, “Two to three hours per week of effort over the Summer can help to prevent this loss.” While we want our children to enjoy the Summer slipping down water slides, we don’t want them slipping on their academics. If a few hours per week of enrichment can ease tensions leading into the school year, isn’t that a worthwhile investment?
GET AHEAD OF THE CURVE
According to District Administration, there is a transition that all students go through, which they described as follows—”At first, we are learning to read and then we are reading to learn.” We think our kids are comprehending what they read, but often they are just going through the motions. It has been said that 15 minutes of independent reading per day can increase a child’s vocabulary well beyond what they can gain from classroom instruction. As the child stays ahead of other students, it not only increases his or her success in that class, but on standardized tests as well. Having a strong vocabulary is essential to doing well on either the SAT or ACT college admission test.
FULL SPEED AHEAD
It’s more than just the words we know, but it’s also the speed at which we process those words. In this Brightly Article, Cindy Rodriguez stated, “When the brain is not focused on decoding words, it is freed up to focus on comprehension.” In other words, fluency matters! There has been a lot of attention given to billionaires and how they achieved their success. One characteristic that many of them have in common is the rate at which they read. It has been said that many of them do not merely read books, but they consume them. As a result, they can amass large quantities of knowledge in a short period of time. Knowledge, as we’ve all heard, is power!
DO YOU COMPREHEND?
Memory and retention are also critical to success. After all, how can we possibly be an expert in a particular field if we always forget the key elements of that field? Kevin Horsley, the world memory champion, said “Memory is not just about learning content and stuffing it into your brain – you have to know the content and be able to control it, shape it, and creatively wield it to create the results you want.” We cannot begin to shape things into what we want until we are comprehending and retaining what we’re reading, right? Think about this in terms of a standardized test. After you read a particular passage, you have to answer questions related to that passage, right? This is a very difficult process if you’re not properly comprehending the material.
There is one other component that is critical to success in comprehension and that is logic. Some children may not be properly connecting the dots, so to speak. When children read, there is more than just getting past the decoding process, but it’s about being able to make logical connections and inferences. An ideal reading program would have a critical thinking curriculum to supplement the comprehension side.
IDENTIFY AND FILL LEARNING GAPS
If you find the right Summer Reading Camp, it can actually open doors beyond anything you could’ve imagined. What if a program that was designed to help with reading fluency and reading comprehension also identified gaps in reading? What if those gaps in reading were contributing to deficiencies in other areas of your child’s education? You would definitely want such gaps to filled, right? What’s great about Summer Break is that there’s time to work on any gaps or deficiencies that may exist. Any Summer reading camp would be worth its weight in gold if it only achieved this one objective!
Parents, I know this can be a bitter pill for your children to swallow. I was a kid once, and I certainly cherished the fun activities that the Summer months had to offer. Living in the Chicago area, I certainly know that activities are abound and it is so easy to get caught-up in all those temptations. I now realize that Summer comes and Summer goes, but the foundational skills of reading are benefits that we carry with us for a lifetime. If a few hours a week of Summer reading can put your child ahead and keep him or her ahead, then that is an essential investment in your kid’s future.