By Geneva Castro’Lichtenstein, M.Ed
Is the summer slide the new ride at the playground at One Ali`i? Is it the water slide at a keiki’s birthday party? Nope. The summer slide is what happens to our keiki’s reading skills over summer break.
With today, May 30, the last day of school at Kualapu’u Elementary School (the other public schools released students last week) summer plans begin. Families are now thinking about vacations, trips to the pool, camp, how to keep keikis involved in activities at home and who is going to watch them during the day. An important issue families may not be considering is how much knowledge and reading skills a keiki loses over the break.
Keikis can improve reading skills over the summer. And the opposite is true too, if a keiki does not read over the break skills can easily slide down. In the fall, teachers often use the first month of school re-teaching the skills students lose over a long break like summer.
Summer slide does not have to affect the keikis reading skills on Molokai this summer.
Families have the absolute largest part in motivating their keikis to read during the summer. How? Below is a short list of ideas all families can do. Please, let’s keep our keikis off the summer slide this break.
How to keep keiki off the summer slide:
• Include reading with activities. This summer when going to the park or going to the beach why not also encourage them to read a book about the activity?
• Go to the public library. Summer Is a great time to get your keiki a library card. The public library is air-conditioned and there are comfortable chairs. What a great place to spend time.
• Lead by example. Let your keiki see you read: baking directions, magazines, newspaper and online, they will see reading is everywhere.
• Talk about it. Talk with your keiki about what you have read. Let them know reading is important to you. What do like about it? What easy, difficult?
• Help find a place and time to read.
• It is not school. During the school year, our keikis follow schedules all day. Make sure they pick up books for fun and help find ways for them to choose to read on their own.
• Have plenty reading material around.
• Use books to break boredom.
• Read aloud.
Geneva Castro’Lichtenstein, a longtime high school and middle school language arts teacher, has been school counselor at Kualapu’u Public Conversion Charter School the past six years.