By Brian J. Whiston, Superintendent Dearborn Public School
Name the best thing about summer vacation?
Ask ten different people that question and you will most likely get ten different responses. For some it’s a favorite vacation spot up north, for others it may be traveling to visit family, and for many more it’s simply being able to break the daily routine.
School districts across the state are preparing to break the routine for about a thirteen week period. As we do so, there is at least one routine we hope all students continue to make part of their day. READ, READ, READ!
This year, at the elementary level, the district focused on a concept called Daily 5/CAFÉ. This framework for building better readers, and students who enjoy reading, needs to be reinforced over the long summer recess. One of the best predictors of summer reading loss, or gain, is whether or not a child reads during the extended break.
Students should have a good supply of books for the summer; six to eight books are recommended but can vary depending on grade level. Studies suggest that reading as few as six books over the summer will help students maintain the level of reading skills they achieved during the school year. Dearborn is fortunate to have a great local library system that provides access to a wide variety of books allowing children to select reading material that is interesting to them but still at a “Good Fit” reading level. Building a genuine interest in characters, plots, storylines, and authors will help students have a positive reading experience and develop a passion for reading.
Our work to reinforce good reading habits and build better readers needs to continue all summer long at all grade levels. Middle and high school students should also be engaged in reading throughout the summer months. All children should be reading outside of school, and research clearly shows that the key to curtailing summer reading loss is finding novel ways to get books into the hands of children during the summer break.
I encourage everyone to take advantage of our summer programs, visit a library or museum, and at the very least take time to read with your child. Remember, just because the routine of the school year has come to an end it doesn’t mean the learning should as well. Make everyday events and experiences an opportunity to think, to question, and to learn.