Summer vacation! What a great time for children to enjoy swimming, riding bikes, going to the park, and visiting friends and relatives.
It’s also a great time to curl up with a great book. And it’s a perfect time to write stories, letters — maybe even a child’s own version of a comic book.
Add reading and writing to your child’s summer schedule. Children leave school in June at the “top of their game.” After nine months of intensive reading and writing instruction, they need to continue using these skills all summer. Otherwise, their skills may slip away in what is called “summer slide.”
Prevent the “summer slide.” Children who do not read regularly during the summer may return at a level two to three months behind where they were at the beginning of summer. But children who read and write every day, all summer long, return to school in the fall with gains of two or three months of skill.
The simple and pleasurable act of reading makes for stronger readers and better students. The good news is that reading and writing can be happily woven into every day, even a day spent at the pool or ballpark.
Tips to keep children at the top of their game over vacation:
• Get books into the hands of children: The Federal Way libraries are committed to children’s reading. A library card is free and lets children check out numerous books all summer long. Borrowing books costs nothing, as long as books are returned when due. Establishing a weekly routine of going to the library helps to inspire young readers.
• Sign up for the King County Library System's Summer Reading Program 2013: The Federal Way Regional Library has a summer reading program in which elementary school children receive a reading log and record how many minutes they read. At 500 minutes, they receive a “halfway” prize of a KCLS bookmark attached to some real seeds that can be planted. At 1,000 minutes, they receive a “finisher” prize of a book bag. Students who finish by Aug. 31 may enter their name in a drawing for a Sony E-Reader. The library also has reading programs, with prizes, for preschool (newborn through age 5) students and older students. Exciting performances for children and families can be enjoyed weekly.
Because the 320th Street Library is closed for reconstruction this summer, the Regional Library on First Avenue has extended hours as follows: Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 .m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Check with the library information desk for more information. And, do take advantage of our beautiful library and the opportunities it offers for children.
Joan Tornow, Ph.D., is an educational consultant, the author of "Every Child is a Writer," and a member of the Federal Way Mirror's editorial board.