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Got the ‘summer slide’? Try the Summer Reading Challenge

The Summer Reading Challenging is keeping young minds in tiptop shape and avoiding the ‘summer slide’ during relaxed, unstructured summer days.

Judy Warmath, elementary instruction coordinator for Madison City Schools, said the Alabama Department of Education has endorsed Summer Reading Challenge “as a valuable, free resource that can be accessed by parents and students via the Internet (alsde.edu/summerreadingchallenge) or by visiting any public library.”

During summer months, students “can hone reading skills and curb the effects of what we commonly refer to as ‘summer slide,'” Warmath said. The ‘slide’ can occur because students are not engaging in continuous instructional activities like the routine of the regular school year.

The website alsde.edu/summerreadingchallenge suggests ways for parents to work with their children on reading activities and book selections. Students can listen online to snippets from books, authors in their studios and audio ‘booktalks’ with authors, illustrators and narrators.

Reading is always important for all ages, Warmath said. “All students can experience some level of regression in reading skills due to inactivity during summer months.”

In summer, students usually have a lax routine without reading assignments and instruction. Summer Reading Challenge shortens time when students aren’t “engaged in meaningful text and suggests books that could provide reading for pleasure,” Warmath said.

“One of the best ways to encourage children to read is to read with them,” Warmath said. “Listening to your child read and asking questions about what they read is an excellent way to reinforce comprehension skills.”

Warmath suggests thought-provoking questions:

* “What would you do in this situation?”

* “How could the main character have responded differently?”

* “If you could rewrite the ending, what would you write?”

Rereading books aloud increases fluency. “Encourage them to read (like) they speak with intonation and rhythm,” Warmath said. Poetry is an excellent choice for children to improve fluency.

Summer Reading Challenge has book lists for ages 3-12. Madison Library works closely with schools and has summer reading lists from secondary schools. “The library is an excellent resource that I would encourage everyone to utilize,” Warmath said.

For more information, visit alsde.edu/summerreadingchallenge.

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