Make the most of summertime reading—strategies to avoid the summer slide.

June 3, 2011

We know from extensive research that without continued reading in the summer, students fall back in their reading achievement. The good news is that the latest research shows students who read at least 4 books over the summer maintain or even increase their skills. Reading is a skill that continues to improve through practice. The more you read, the better reader you become. Children who are good readers enjoy reading.

Strategies to avoid the summer slide

• Ramp up the “pleasure principle” in reading and love of story.

• Increase the time you read aloud and talk with children about what they read. Children who talk about a story have better comprehension skills, which build their confidence as readers. Children need confidence to enjoy reading.

• Find a balance between school time reading and summer time reading. Summertime reading should be all about pleasure.

• SLOW DOWN: get off the literary stair master. I would rather your children read fewer books, know and love them well, than read many books they don’t really like or even remember.

• Re-reading is not cheating! Encourage your children to revisit the books they have read. Everyone gets more from a book they have read more than once.

• Allow your children choice in what they read

• At the same time, suggest books you think they will like.  The Scholastic Study on Children and Reading found that children said they did not like to read because they could not find books they liked to read. Children want autonomy and independence in their reading but they also need guidance in what to read. Ask yourself: “Who is going to hand them the memorable books they will carry into their young adulthood years?”  Make your local librarian and local independent bookstore seller your new best friends.

• Audio books are terrific—and they build vocabulary and instill a love of story. They are also not associated with school assignments.

• Relax and let go of how challenging a book is—please do not tell children the book they are reading is too easy.

Set an example and follow your good advice: Read more this summer and enjoy what you read.

Pre-school age children do not need tutors to get them ready to enter Kindergarten.

May 20, 2011

A recent article flagged a growing trend to push expensive tutoring programs aimed at the preschool set. I suggest parents relax and avoid anxiety producing pre-school tutoring programs and their promises of making sure children are ready for school. Reading to children and talking with them about the story are the early literacy skills they […]


Some poems are meant to be shared, loved and remembered.

May 17, 2011

Eloise Greenfield was born May 17 1929 in Parmele, North Carolina at the beginning of the Depression. Early on her family moved to Washington, D.C. where she still lives today. Here is one of my favorite poems, from her collection, Honey I Love, an ALA Notable Children’s Book. Enjoy discovering on your own other of […]


“Oh my goodness, I was as giddy as a pig in the sunshine.” Patrick Lewis, upon hearing the news of being named Children’s Poet Laureate.

May 13, 2011

Our new Children’s Poet Laureate, Patrick Lewis said “ A lifelong love for poetry is most likely to result if cultivated early in childhood and reinforced thereafter” Patrick Lewis has certainly done his part and then some in cultivating a love of poetry for both adults and children. He says  “poetry can transport children when […]


Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

May 8, 2011

Mother’s Day seems to be the perfect time to look at the perennial “nature versus nurture” debate. I see NO downside in hedging your bets. If hedging your bet is defined as protecting yourself against a possible loss, what parent wants to possibly lose the opportunity of doing whatever they can to nurture a child […]


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