Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Preventing the Summer Slide

June 21, 2013

Dear Hood School Parents,

                Summer vacation immediately sparks visions of beaches and barbeques. But, while your children are creating precious memories through fun and games, they could be losing the reading gains that they acquired during the previous school year if they do not continue to read throughout the summer.  
                Preventing the “summer slide” is a concern of all educators as we move into the summer months.   I cannot encourage you enough to establish smart summer reading habits for your children when you consider the compelling reading research that overwhelming supports the importance of every child reading on a daily basis over the summer.  One study revealed that children could lose up to three months of the reading gains that they acquired during the school year if they do not read or have someone read to them over the summer.  Another study found that reading just five to ten books over the summer can prevent reading loss!  Perhaps the most alarming research found that struggling readers lose more ground over the summer than proficient readers if they do not engage in summer reading practices, and those losses create a wider gap between proficient readers and struggling readers.  By the time these struggling readers reach middle school, summer reading loss can accumulate to a two-year lag in reading achievement! 
                 By immersing your entire family in activities that involve reading, parents can create enthusiastic readers. Providing a print rich environment, being a reading role model for your children, and promoting a love of reading will lessen the “summer reading slide”, as well as ease the transition back to school in the fall.
                Here are just a few of the many ways parents can “nurture and nudge” their children into rewarding reading habits this upcoming summer.

                * Enroll your children in the Flint Memorial Library’s free summer reading program, “Dig Into Reading!”  This theme kicks-off on Monday, June 24th with the making of a mural to hang in the library.  A special reading incentive offered by the library again this year involves reading 10 hours by August 9th .  Children who read the required number of minutes between June 24th and August 9th earn a free admission ticket to the 2013 Topsfield Fair with a free entrance pass, 2 rides, and a hot dog and drink. At the end of the summer the library will be celebrating summer reading with an ice cream social, so be sure to check out that impending date at the library.

                * Visit the Hood School’s website for suggested summer reading books.  The town’s three elementary reading specialists and the children’s town librarian worked together to compile these titles for you to read to your child, with your child, or for your child to read on their own.
* Enroll your child in the Red Sox Summer Reading Game sponsored by the Massachusetts Teacher’s Association to promote literacy.  Massachusetts’ children, from kindergarten through grade 8, who pledge to read nine books and then submit their pledge cards, will be entered into a drawing to win a family pack of 4 tickets to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park.  Entries must be postmarked by July 12, 2013 to be entered into the drawing.  (Pledge cards were available in the Hood School’s lobby during Open House and are still available for pick-up on the bench in the lobby.)

                * Another summer freebie to take advantage of is to sign your children up for “Barnes & Noble Annual Summer Reading Program:  Imagination’s Destination” where they can read their way to a free book by reading and recording eight books on Barnes & Noble’s reading journal.  For further details visit .  This Barnes & Noble website includes book recommendations, their summer reading journal, and a summer reading kit.  

                * Visit for a comprehensive recommended list of recommended reading.  This website includes all the winners of the Massachusetts Children’s Book Awards for 2012 which were voted on by all Massachusetts’ fourth graders.
                * Start a summer book club with your children and their friends and parents.  Forming a book club is a fun, social way to encourage summer reading with follow-up discussions for parents and children alike.

                * Create book baskets for the whole family and have them readily available around the house or ready to travel.   Make it fun and include newspapers, comic books, children’s magazines, and crossword puzzles.

                Remember, your primary goal is to keep your children reading throughout the summer.  Look for fun ways to celebrate your family reading as you continue to promote a love of reading.

                Last, but not least, I will be looking forward once again to Hood School families sending in their favorite candid summer photo(s) of your children and/or family reading.  These photos will be showcased on the Hood School’s “Celebration of Summer Reading” bulletin board in the lobby when your children return to school in September.  Please drop off a hard copy of your photo(s) at the Hood during the month of August or mail it to the school any time in August.  Please remember to include your child’s name, new grade level, and new classroom teacher with your photo.  It would be greatly appreciated if all photos could be mailed, or dropped off to the Hood School office, by August 16th so that the bulletin board is completed to welcome everybody back to school in September.                                                                                                         

Happy Reading!  

Susan B. Hegarty

Susan B. Hegarty, M.Ed.
Reading Specialist
J. T. Hood School

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