Saturday, July 14, 2007

Summer Reading

I am not sure of the exact statics but I do know that during the summer months the reading levels of most children drop because they are out playing in the sprinklers rather than sitting with a book. This is a generalization however because I was one of those children who preferred to sit under a tree in the shade reading Carolyn Haywood or Laura Ingalls Wilder books while my two brothers ran around with a kite. They would tease me by chanting "reading is fun for mentals" which was a clever (or not so clever) spin on the RIF motto "reading is fundamental".

Nowadays children have more opportunities to interact with print in varied and fun ways. They are not limited to just printed materials. Computers offer an interactive spin on what some children find the tedious task of reading. It has been well documented that children who like to read, read. This increases their vocabulary, world knowledge and fluency. The simple act of reading leads to more reading.
However, children who do not read generally find reading to be a tiresome task. They have a more limited vocabulary which in turn perpetuates the cycle of non-reading. This is called The Matthew Effect - the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

I have found that you can indeed 'trick' these non-readers into reading by having them utilize free interactive websites targeted for this purpose. In addition to the RIF website (which I recently discovered) another website that just keeps getting better and better is:

At Starfall the philosophy is a developmental approach to reading and it provides structured lessons beginning with phonological awareness activities; phonics, rhyming, letter names and then moves towards reading stories for fluency and comprehension.

I introduced my students to this program and they really enjoyed it. There is also information for parents and teachers, downloadable materials, supplemental information and educational implications.

Some characters featured at Starfall

So if you are looking for a way 'in' to reading for your child please give Starfall and RIF a try, especially during the summer months. Enjoy.


Salty Miss Jill said...

I'm still one of those kids with her nose in a book on a sunny day...nothing's changed in the past 30 years besides the authors. Well, some of them anyways. ;)

Love your blog!!!!

Joy said...

Reading is fun for mentals *sigh* pretty much sums up why I hated L.I.

Out of curiosity, what percentage of your class would you say are like you (and I) were as kids? Do any come into your class as book-lovers from the git go?

Gary said...

Salty miss I know the feeling. Thanks for dropping in today. If you have any favorite children's authors I'd love to know about them.

Joy are you asking me to do math? LOL. I am not sure of percentages but yes, I had quite a few children at least half - what is that 70% :) who enjoyed reading for pleasure. One boy in particular - the Blue's Clues boy - was never without a book. He would bring them on trips, on the bus, to recess and would sometimes get so lost in his reading that we didn't even ask him to join us for group lessons. He also loved his comic books. Sound like anyone else we know?

MONA said...

Laura Ingalls Wilder was my favourite writer too.I still have her books. & I still reading Grimms & Andersons.Also comics lots of them!

Reading is imperative & so is playing :)

MONA said...

Ah! & I simply love the Smug Queen with her lopsided smile :)

la bellina mammina said...

Definitely gonna check out those sites - thanks Gary. Btw, I've put you up on my blog - hope you don't mind;-)

Gary said...

La Bellina - Thanks, I am flattered. I have added you as well. Your children are so cute!!


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