What is Summer Slide
The long Summer break most traditional schools experience can cause the average student’s learning to regress by one month and is referred to as “Summer slide.” This can spell trouble for the students who have left the apron strings of the elementary school where the focus was on learning to read. Now the game has changed and it means reading to learn instead. The best solution? A Hot Summer Reading List that will keep them wanting to read all Summer.
Educators of younger students are all aware of how important self-selected reading is. Self-explanatory, this method of reading entails the child selecting a book himself, one that appeals to him to enjoy in a comfortable setting. Why should we change this for the older student? While there will probably be required reading assignments for the Summer, the teen and adolescent should make the time to select a few books that they really feel will be enjoyable to them.
It is estimated that even as few as 6 books will keep “Summer slide” at bay and more. Following are 10 good reasons for Summer reading for adolescents and teens along with 6 great books that will keep them engaged.
1. Improving Vocabulary
Summer reading fun can improve vocabulary. In middle and high school, vocabulary words aren’t sight words anymore. They are those “hard” words that show up in the content areas-general science, history, economics, etc. Reading for pleasure provides practice in making connections between familiar and unfamiliar words by using word structure (roots, affixes) and context clues. Studies show that the amount of reading time influences the size of both the reading and speaking vocabulary.
2. Improving Decoding Skills
Summer reading for fun is a good way for the budding middle school student to reinforce the decoding skills they learned throughout elementary school. Once an adolescent is out of grade 4, decoding instruction will likely be reserved for remedial reading classes. The middle school student will be required to read more supplementary materials for learning in the content areas. The vocabulary in these (expository) reading materials will be more difficult to decode than those in narratives.
3. Keeping the Mental Processes Active
Summer reading for fun keeps the mental process active. Scientists believe that attention, memory, and thought rely on the brain’s active neuron patterns. The firing of one memory network causes other memory networks to fire. Impulses travel through neurons and jump from dendrite to dendrite via the synapses in a sort of dominoes fashion. The reader can make connections between events in the story to events in her own life. Activation of related networks in the brain will strengthen the synaptic connections of neurons. It’s sort of the brain’s way of getting exercise. Additionally, a good riveting tale can stir the emotions which will also help connect memory networks.
4. Improving Concentration and Focus
Summer reading for fun can improve concentration and focus. A well-written story of high interest is a good attention grabber. The reader will be focused on the outcome of the story, paying attention to the details that contribute to the plot. The ability to concentrate and focus will essentially help in all subject areas.
5. Reading for Interests
Summer reading for fun is a good way to increase interests and hobbies. As students move through middle and high school career choices become issues. The purpose of school begins to be seen in the context of preparing for the workforce. For example, a story about a sick or wounded animal could spark an interest in veterinary medicine. Or a story about a social issue could encourage volunteering for a cause.
6. Reduce Summer Boredom
Summer reading fun can help reduce boredom. The bored adolescent or teen can get into trouble more easily. Boredom on long hot days can set in, especially toward mid-summer when interest in the beach, pool or lake begins to fizzle. A good story can be entertaining. Unlike TV shows or movies, the written story will be more mentally engaging. It will be like a “movie in the mind” and can stimulate creativity.
7. Reading to Improve Test Scores
Summer reading fun can help test scores. Like it or not, high stakes testing is a fact and is probably not going to go away. Not all high stakes testing is used to determine school funding. Students everywhere must pass the end of course tests, high school competency tests and attain certain scores on the SAT or ACT to get into higher institutes of study.
8. Learning About Other Cultures and Places
Summer reading for fun can create an awareness of other cultures and places. With the internet and travel life has become more global. Chances are the adolescent or teen will travel to other parts of the world. They can “travel in an armchair” and learn about their destinations through descriptive literature. They can “time travel” and read about other times in history and learn how the culture was different.
9. Solving Personal Problems
Reading for Summer fun can help teens with life’s problems. The adolescent and teen years can be bewildering times. New freedom gives rise to new issues. Or sometimes they feel they don’t have the freedom they should have for their age. Peer pressure, bullying, feeling left out of groups, problems getting along with parents and siblings and new attractions to the opposite sex are all issues that many authors write honestly on. Reading about the problems that characters face can be like receiving advice.
10. To Develope a Lifelong Love of Books and Learning
Whether ebooks or paper books, they will always be the door to learning. Kids who learn to love a good book will always have that love.
If you are an adolescent, teen or the parent of one please pick out at least 6 good books that you really think would be fun Summer reading. Don’t forget that required Summer reading list. But do have fun reading! Here are some ideas to get you started.