Why summertime is a great time to boost childhood literacy: Opinion

By Rachel Stack for courier-journal.com

Summer is here, and I know, Waterfront Park and Bats games are calling. But, as parents, in addition to making sure our kids wear sunscreen when they head out the door, we should make sure they’ve got books tucked under their arms.

Like U.S. students around the country, just one in three Kentucky eighth graders is considered a proficient reader, based on the latest Nation’s Report Card scores. We can do better, and summer is an important time to make sure our children are keeping up, and maybe progressing, as readers.

I know it’s challenging. I have two teenagers and understand the lure of phones and other tech gadgets. But we need to find ways to get children to love reading again. The truth is, they don’t take the time to get lost in books like they used to. In a national survey of children ages 9 and 13, young people reported never or hardly ever reading for fun on their own. 

Louisville Free Public Library:7 great books to kick off summer reading with kids

For educators and policymakers, the data ought to serve as a wake-up call that we have to look at how we teach reading. We know, thanks to decades of research, which practices are most effective at helping children learn to read.

Using a systematic, research-based phonics curriculum that also builds student background knowledge is essential. But too few schools have adopted such evidence-based programs.

Fortunately, in Kentucky and some other states, this is starting to change amid concerns about further declines in student achievement related to the pandemic. Kentucky is among the states that recently allocated funding for districts to support teachers in delivering instruction aligned with what we know about learning and development, also referred to as the science of reading. 

But parents need to be part of the equation too. Given my work in the literacy field, and because my husband is a high school English teacher, our friends often ask us for our advice on what to do and how to get their kids to read more. One thing we always suggest is finding out what kind of reading instruction is happening in their children’s school and what they can do at home to support their child’s progress. 

Read more here.

Help your child learn to read with Reading Kingdom. Sign up today for a free 30 day trial.