Students can ward off the summer slump by reading four or five books during the summer.
Having primary school student participate in summer reading can prevent the reading-achievement losses that normally occur over those months, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk.
The study showed that regardless of race, socioeconomic level or previous achievement, children who read more books fared better on reading-comprehension tests in the fall than their peers who has read one or no books over the summer.
Literacy Specialist Anne Briggs has been working with the Ministry of Education, Training and Employment on ways to prevent this reading loss over the summer.
“When parents are looking for books for their child to read, they should always make sure that their child can read the book with ease,” she said. “Oftentimes a parent might think that the traditional picture books are easier, but that is often not the case. Many pictures books are written at a Year 4 level or higher.”
She said that using the Five Finger Rule is a quick measure of the accessibility of the book.
The Five Finger Rule is this: the child should choose a page to read, and each time they see a word they don’t know, put up one finger.
When they’re finished reading the page, see how many fingers are raised.
If it’s none, one or two, it’s considered easy reading. If the child has raised three fingers, it’s just right. Four fingers means the book is challenging and five fingers signals that the book is a difficult read.
Chief Education Officer Mary Rodrigues and the Education Ministry have put their support behind Ms Briggs.
“Children reading books on their level is best practice in the teaching of literacy,” she said. “This is currently occurring in our schools as the Ministry of Education, Training and Employment is working diligently to raise the levels of literacy in our schools. We hope that parents continue to support their children in this manner over the summer months as well.”