The ‘summer slide’ is extra slippery for kids in poverty. Here’s how you can fight it with fun.
By Rachel Roseberry, Literacy Manager at ExpandED Schools
The summer slide is well documented. Our own Katie Browhan, Senior Director of Research, summarized this research in a post last August highlighting a study showing that students in low-income neighborhoods can lose two months of reading achievement over the course of a single summer. Luckily, we also know a wide range of strategies for keeping kids engaged in joyful literacy learning during the months off of school. Our LiteracyConnections blog series will share several of these strategies over the next several weeks.
Many organizations (and families!) build their summer learning around clubs or themes. One of the easiest strategies for infusing literacy is to pair texts with summer themes and clubs. A paired text is any type of text (picture book, poem, article, etc.) that connects with an existing theme or activity. Paired texts are often relatively short and can be shared at the opening of an activity to generate excitement about the topic, or at the end of the activity to help kids reflect on their learning. Share these texts through interactive read-alouds (for younger kids) or partner reading (for older kids). See below for some of our suggestions for paired texts!
- Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt can show young kids in gardening clubs what happens above and below ground during planting. Engaging illustrations and clear, lyrical text make this one a winner.
- For 2nd graders interested in STEM, check out the story of the young inventor who came up with the idea for the super-soaker! Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions is a captivating tale that will inspire kids to create.
- For young artists, there are biographies such as Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. After reading, kids can mimic his collage-style artwork.
- Maybe Something Beautiful will show how art can make a difference in one’s community and may inspire the creation of a collaborative mural!
- For older elementary students interested in cooking share the story of Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix. The eye-catching artwork and compelling story of a chef turned entrepreneur will captivate.
- Maker clubs are popular and engaging. Consider reading a chapter from Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women to inspire kids to tinker, design, and create.
- If your kids like music, you could share When the Beat Was Born: DJ Cool Herc and the Creation of Hip-Hop to kick off a musical activity in style.
- The New York Times Learning Network shares articles from The Times that are engaging for older kids (bonus: none are pay-walled!). You can browse through their site and pick an interesting article that pairs well with an upcoming summer activity.
- If your kids are into sports and recreation, share excerpts from The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in this Game Called Life that could help them connect sports skills to life skills.
- The short biographies in Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History would be a great launching point for a summer research project on people who make a difference.
Finding the right paired text can take time, but sharing engaging stories and ideas with kids will enrich their summer experience and their literacy skills.
This post was originally published on the ExpandED Schools blog. See more at www.expandedschools.org.