That’s it; school’s out for summer! But with summer break comes the dreaded summer learning loss. Some students lose two months in math skills over the summer, according to research, and more than two months in reading achievement.
School’s almost out! As days get longer, children all around the country are eagerly waiting for the summer break to come. But did you know that on average, American children lose one month of their math and reading skills during the summer?Make sure your children read this summer, or they could lose grade-level equivalency.
Children love to ask questions about the world. Why is the sky blue? How does water turn into ice? Where does electricity come from? The best way for children to find their answers is by reading various forms of non-fiction!
Children will not only learn more about the world; they’ll develop special skills.
In non-fiction, children are exposed to informational text –the same text used in school exams and applications. Early exposure to non-fiction better prepares children for the type of reading and writing they will face in everyday life. Children also learn to understand how language is organized, a skill that will be visible in their own written work! In addition, the many new and rich technical vocabulary children encounter in non-fiction will enhance their speech.
So make sure to keep non-fiction in your child’s life! These tips will help children ease into the process.
Skimming text before reading can relieve a lot of the pressure a child may face. Glancing at headlines, chapter titles, maps, images, or graphs, allows children to gather clues about what they are going to read and what they can expect. This will better prepare them for the actual text.
Have children ask themselves questions before they read the text. This will increase a child’s curiosity about the topic of the reading. Having the questions in a child’s mind as he or she reads will also keep him or her focused on the words and their context.
Children should get in the habit of reading out loud. This helps children avoid distractions because they will be paying extra attention to the words. Reading aloud will also help develop a child’s speech skills.
When a child is done reading a non-fiction text, talk about it! Discuss something new that they have learned, whether their personal questions were answered, and what they would like to read about next!
With these tips, your children will be ready to tackle any non-fiction texts!
By Gilmarie Brioso
The kids have voted! Here’s one of their favorite News-O-Matic articles from last week!
Record Heat in China (published in News-O-Matic on Wednesday, July 31, 2013)
Millions of people in China seek relief from a record heat wave.
One of the world’s largest cities is having its hottest summer. The 23 million residents of Shanghai, China, have been dealing with a heat wave that won’t go away. The city reached 105°F, its hottest temperature since 1873. With 24 days of at least 95°F, it had its warmest July ever. At least 10 people have died from the extreme heat.
Chinese people have been trying to stay cool in different ways. About 15,000 people jumped into a wave pool in a resort in central China. Others are spending time in air-conditioned houses and stores. Workers in Chinese zoos have even had to cool off animals with water spray and watermelon snacks.
The Chinese government has warned people not to go outside during the hottest part of the day. The temperature could reach new record highs today.
By Russell Kahn
residents: locals; people who live in an area
extreme: strong; intense
Fact: A Chinese TV news station put a piece of pork outside and showed how it cooked in the Shanghai heat.
Act: If it gets hot where you are, make sure you stay cool. Drink lots of water and don’t spend much time outside during the middle of the day.
Fun Fact: More people live in Shanghai than in the cities of New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago combined!
Reading is an integral part of education. We want our kids to be strong readers so they’ll do well in school. But how can we get them to sit down with a book or a newspaper, especially in the summer, when the green front lawn has never been more inviting and the TV seems to churn out a must-see every single day?
To help our kids become strong readers, we need to nurture a love of reading. We need to step back from asking, “How can I get Sarah to sit down and read?” and move toward, “How can I get her to think positively about reading?”
Here are some recommendations:
There are so many books out there! Such a wide selection allows you to choose one that harmonizes with your child’s likes, what they want to do, or learn more about. Enjoyable reading will spawn more reading! Build your child’s interests-whether it’s in ballet, dump-trucks, animals or rocket ships-and enhance literacy.
Whether it’s at a fixed, weekly time or takes place more randomly, reading as a family will help your child associate books with warm feelings of love and togetherness. Plus, your child will see that Mom and Dad take pleasure in reading and that it’s not just something that has to be done for school. This time will emphasize the enjoyment of reading. Don’t stress about making sure your child could ace a quiz on the content of what he or she is reading. Sit back, relax, and read together.
How many times have you heard someone say, “The book was better than the movie”? Pick a book that has been made into a movie and have your child read it, or read it together. Then, watch the movie, and compare the two. Your child will be able to appreciate the richness of a book that a movie simply cannot capture.
When books, magazines, and newspapers are found all over the house or apartment, your child will see how integral reading is to your home and to your lives. Keep material accessible in the living room, in bedrooms, and yes, even in the bathroom.
Whether it’s on Letterman’s top 10 or Sports Center’s, people love lists! Work with your child to create ongoing top-10 or top-5 lists of favorite books, articles, poems, magazines, or blogs. Include room for honorable mentions. Encourage them to make lists and compare them with their friends.
Give reading a positive feel by making it a reward. Take trips to the book store – the immensity and mystery inside can be very intriguing to children. Give them power to choose what they read. Consider giving a gift of a magazine subscription and have it delivered in their name!
By Sam Blake
Some children find newspapers difficult to read. There is just so much going on! Young readers may wonder: Where do I start? What do I read? How do I know what is important? How long will this take? Overwhelmed, kids often put the newspaper down and walk away forever.
Children shouldn’t shy away from current events. Newspapers help kids become informed citizens and lifelong readers. These simple steps will help any child become a newspaper lover!
Step 1: Skim the Headlines
A headline is the sentence or phrase at the top of an article in a newspaper. It – along with the sub headline – will help kids know a little more about the article.
If a headline intrigues a child, have him or her read the first paragraph or whole article. Make sure they know the story may continue on the inside pages of a printed newspaper.
Step 2: Look at the Pictures
Most articles are accompanied by images. If a child does not understand the headline, have them look at the picture. Photographs tell a story and can give your child many clues to the contents of the article.
Step 3: Pick and Choose
Let children know they do not have to read the entire newspaper! When first reading the newspaper, they can read the stories they find most interesting. As time goes on, you can encourage them to try unfamiliar topics.
Step 4: Ask Questions and Share Ideas
Sometimes a child needs more to feel engaged and stimulated. Ask questions about what they read or share your own thoughts on a news topic.
Step 5: Repeat!
Repeat these steps until your child has read an entire newspaper edition.
These steps are applicable to both print and digital newspapers.
By Gilmarie Brioso