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Keep Children Reading During Summer, Experts Say

Experts suggest younger children should read for at least 15 minutes a day during the summer to stave off summer loss. (dassel/Pixabay)
Experts suggest younger children should read for at least 15 minutes a day during the summer to stave off summer loss. (dassel/Pixabay)
June 19, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. – Reading has to be a part of summer activities for kids. That's according to experts who say there's evidence of significant learning loss in the summer when kids don't read.

According to the organization, Reading is Fundamental (RIF), students experience between a one- to three-month loss of reading skills in the summer if they don't continue to read regularly.

Laura Walters, the manager of programs with RIF, says reading doesn't have to start with books.

"So just giving kids the opportunity to choose the type of material that they read and keeping in mind that it doesn't always have to be a book, that it might be a magazine, it might be a newspaper," she explains. "Even if it's just a cereal box, or signs driving down the road."

Walters says younger children should read for at least 15 minutes a day during the summer and older kids should read for a minimum of a half an hour.

According to Reading Connections, more than a million adults in North Carolina experience reading and writing difficulties that impact their daily lives.

Ed Deleon, the chief program and content officer with RIF, says regardless of a student's intended profession, reading skills are an indicator of future success.

"Literacy skills are just so important in the job market and in academia that without the proper literacy skills it's really difficult to make your way in the world," he says.

Walters says while an incentive program for children to read in the summer can help, the best strategy is taking them to the library to let them choose the books or publications that interest them most.

"Internal motivation is probably the most important thing and knowing what drives your child," she adds. "Another big factor is, of course, making sure that the children see that their parents are reading themselves."

Organizations like RIF, Read 2 Succeed and others often offer free summer reading books for children.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR