It’s a fact: learning to read is not as easy as learning to talk
At the risk of sounding like the portender of doom, or having any similar moniker attached to my name, let it be known that our children are falling through educational “gulfs” not “cracks.”
The question is why? The response to such a question lies fundamentally in dysfunctional home environments, and already overburdened teachers.
Naturally, the dysfunctional nature of the instructional “curriculum” also bears a significant part of the responsibility for why children are not learning. Black children especially are falling through an educational gulf because of lack of phonetic instruction and writing skills development.
Summer reading is critical for students to retain knowledge and skills learned in the previous school year. Those students who do not read are at risk of falling behind their classmates. Both parents and teachers can avert this by ensuring that children take time to read. While reading over the summer vacation may not be a priority for children, parents should make it one.
In the same manner that exercising keeps muscles in shape, reading keeps the brain in shape. If you fail to exercise you lose muscle, and if you do not read you will lose literacy skills. It is necessary for children to read on a daily basis in order to maintain the literacy skills learned in the previous school year, for summer reading defeats summer learning loss.
Research has shown that children who fail to learn to read by the end of third grade are likely to remain poor readers for the rest of their lives, and also likely to fall behind in other academic areas. Others are more likely to drop out of high school and end up in the criminal justice system and to live in poverty.
In many schools the basic assumption underlying typical reading instruction is that learning to read is as natural a process as learning to talk. However, decades of scientific research have revealed that reading does not come naturally; the human brain is not wired to read. Children must be specifically taught how to connect sounds with letters—phonics.
While summer may mean a much-needed break for kids it can also mean a break in learning
and in many cases a regrettable loss of newly-developed reading skills.
The so-called “summer slide” becomes particularly problematic for kids who are already struggling with reading. So parents, if you do not want to risk your child losing ground over the summer, it is important to ensure that he/she has opportunities to practice his reading skills. Remember that the library is a good place to start.
So parents, read to your child, read with your child, read for your child and soon you will be reading of your child and the remarkable progress made way beyond summer.