The “Summer Slide” has become a familiar term to those who work in education as well as parents. What is the Summer Slide? Essentially, it’s the academic loss that children experience over the summer holidays. I’ve often been asked by parents at the library how to prevent their children from experiencing the feared “Summer Slide”
My advice is simple- “Kids who read succeed!”
But how do you incorporate reading into a daily activity in the summer without it seeming like school? I’ve had this dream of creating a book club for my son and his friends. With visions of them reading a book each week and then meeting to discuss our thoughts and feelings over a pitcher of lemonade and cookies. When I proposed this to my son, the horrified look on his face said it all. He also reminded me that Greg Heffley’s mom from Diary of a Wimpy Kid also tried to create a book club for Greg and his friends.(This is just going to prove his point that I am very much like Susan Heffley)
It would be wonderful to walk past your childs bedroom and see them curled up with a book each night. Or even see them turn off the TV and curl up on the couch. Truth is, this doesn’t always happen. Reading incentives work. Summer Reading Programs around North America are created on this premise and they are successful because of it. So, in addition to visiting a library and having your child sign up and participate in one of these fantastic programs, why not also provide a reading incentive at home. Here’s my example:
Using stickers, or stamps, have your child mark the different places he or she has read for at least 20 minutes. The only rules are that only one square can be marked each day, and the reading should be a book at their level (no board books for a 12 yearold for example) for at least 20 minutes. Once the “bingo card” is full, have your child choose a fun family activity that you can do together as the “reward”. You can create more cards to get you through the summer holidays by coming up with ideas for new places together.
A clever counting book and fable unlike any other and winner of the 2011 Governor General’s Award for Illustration. Ten birds are trying to figure out how to get to the other side of the river. The bird they call “Brilliant” devises a pair of stilts. The bird they call “Highly Satisfactory” engineers a raft. One by one, nine resourceful birds make the crossing until a single bird is left behind ? the one they call “Needs Improvement.” This bird’s solution proves surprising ? and absurdly simple.
Aside from the stunning pen and ink illustrations, this book has so many wonderful aspects. Numeracy (Math Literacy) as it is a counting book. Problem solving, critical thinking as using the resources around them each bird creates a way across the river until only one is left. I can see this inspiring many “build & construct” activities and contraption building at home and in the classroom. I think one of the more outstanding parts of the story is the message within it. Each bird is given a label “Brilliant, Excellent, Highly Satisfactory” as they design their way across the river. It is the last bird that has been labelled “Needs Improvement” that seems to uncover the most obvious way to cross. I love the subtlety to that message. It’s done in a way that isn’t preachy, as some children’s books can be… it reminds us that labels don’t mean anything. When I’ve shared with families, they children often shout out but birds can fly!! They’ve found a way across too! I’ll be presenting a special program for families in November based on the book.
Ten Birds is my communities “Let’s Read” selection for 2012. Each year a book is selected for families around the region to share together. There are special events, contests and author events planned. For more information about the program visits here : Let’s Read.
Yesterday was the Fall Fun Fair at our community centre. One of the things I think is most amazing about the fair is that it’s offered free to all the families in our neighbourhood, from food to games to rides. Our library is attached to the community centre and we have a wonderful relationship with our neighbours. Each year we provide and host an activity in support of the fair.
I wanted to provide an activity that would include participation of all ages and that multiple people could play at once. I had seen different versions of Life Size board games over the internet including Candy Land and so last year with the help of staff and volunteers we worked to create props and the game itself. It was a huge success and we had lots of requests to offer it again.
From 1-4:30 yesterday we had the game set up in the centre’s gym and had a total of 451 people play. (not all at once of course) We saw all ages from parents carrying their infants through, kids, teens and even adults on their own:)
It’s a amazing what cardboard, construction paper, wooden dowels, a wheel and hard work can do. Below are some pictures. We took them before the crowds arrived as photo release forms would have needed to be signed if we had taken pictures of anyone playing.
Have you offered a life size board game? Did I mention the 451 people that played? I’m exhausted!
The Summer Reading Club is swinging in full gear at our library and it’s been wonderful having soooo many kids and their families participating in our programs…busy but fun:) The Summer Reading Club theme this year is Imagine.
Every Tuesday afternoon I run a drop in at our library called “Imagination Station”. It’s a bit of a laid back approach to programming where I set up a variety of activities crafts, games etc and invite families to join us for the afternoon. No registration, no limited space. Just drop in fun. I love just playing games with the kids, and spending the afternoon crafting and chatting. Turn out for this program has been fantastic and since the majority of our other programs require registration it’s nice not to turn anyone away. I’ll post a few of the activities we’ve been doing in these programs later this week.
Are you programs in the summer registered or drop in?