Schoolchildren see summer vacation as a time to have fun. It’s a parent’s job to make sure reading is part of the daily equation.
Educators have good reason to stress the importance of summer reading.
Reading skills, like sports skills, diminish if they aren’t exercised regularly.
Dr. Richard L. Allington of the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, has spent years studying summer reading and the lack of it among schoolchildren.
“Summer reading setback varies based largely on how often a child reads during the summer,” he said in an email interview.
“In general, children from low-income families lose about three months of reading growth during the summer months. Middle-class kids gain about a month during the summer. This creates a four-month gap every year or a year’s reading gap every 2.5 years. So by sixth-grade, low-income students are typically two years behind middle-class kids as readers.
“All this occurs regardless of which schools kids attend,” he wrote.
Today, The World-Herald begins a series on ways to keep kids engaged in summer reading.
Your child’s school library is a great place to start.
The Omaha Public Schools is keeping many of its elementary school libraries open in June. A few will have July hours, too.
These school libraries will have programs, events, guest speakers and activities.
Here are a few examples:
Bancroft Elementary will have an Omaha Children’s Museum presentation, “WhizBang Science Show,” on Saturday.
Kellom will have “The Underwater World” and “All Grown Up” puppet shows on July 13.
Sunny Slope will showcase David Nieves’ “Reptiles Up Close and Personal” on Thursday and a Fontenelle Forest presentation, “Critters on the Move,” on June 12.
Western Hills will have story time on Tuesdays and Thursdays and garden-themed activities on Wednesdays.
If your child’s school isn’t in OPS, check with your district. Some school libraries welcome neighborhood children even if they don’t attend the school. Inquire at your neighborhood school.
All school libraries will be closed July 4.