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Teaching Tip: Helping students retain their reading skills over the summer

Michele Dufresne

Keep students on track with summer reading

As the school year winds down, I know you are wondering if the students you have worked with so hard all year will lose some of their gains. Students who read over the summer are much more likely to hold their gains and even increase their reading skills. How can we help ensure our students will read this summer?

Teachers in South Carolina have been handing out packets of books to students completing first grade. Grant money was used so that first-graders across the entire state will be able to have their own books at home to read. What a great project!

It is often difficult for parents to find easy-to-read books in stores and at the library. You may not be in a position to give books to your students, but consider lending them out or downloading and printing some of the BookBuilder stories.

Encourage students to keep a record of what they have read throughout the summer on a reading log. Here is a link to our reading log. Visit the Resource Center at Pioneer Valley Books' website for this and many other free resources to support your students throughout the summer.

Another helpful tool that may encourage summer reading is a new reading assessment we have been working on especially for parents. It is an online, leveled reading assessment. Parents will be able to see for themselves if their child is or is not making progress over the summer. The assessment will also help parents make good choices about which level of books to select for their child to read. The easy-to-use assessment will soon be found at a new Pioneer Valley Books website just for parents. The website will also include video, news, and tips about how parents can help their children. The website is almost ready to launch and we will let you know when it is up!

Whatever methods you choose, do what you can to encourage students to read all summer long. The rewards in the fall are worth the effort!

Have a great summer!

Michèle Dufresne is author of many Pioneer Valley Books  early readers (including the Bella and Rosie series), Word Solvers (Heinemann), and an early literacy and literacy intervention consultant.

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