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How to make summer reading fun for the whole family

This article is Sponsored by Canyon State Credit Union

At Canyon State Credit Union we are dedicated to helping build a healthy vibrant community here in Arizona.   Encouraging literacy among our children is vital to that mission. And, keeping them reading during summer months is key. In fact, numerous studies have come to the same conclusion: children lose learning during summer vacation months.

“Summer reading loss is cumulative,” explains an article written by Marlene Gundlach for “These children do not typically catch up in the fall. Their peers are progressing with their skills while they are making up for the summer learning loss. By the end of sixth grade, children who lose reading skills during the summer are on average two years behind their peers.”

Fortunately, there is a simple solution. Children who read just a few hours each week can retain the learning they achieved during the prior school year. Research shows reading six books during the summer can prevent regression in struggling readers, according to children’s book company Scholastic.

If you aren’t sure where to start, many organizations produce summer reading lists for various age groups. For example, those that follow are from The Horn Book, but an internet search will turn up many more. Your child’s school or the local library are also good sources for book suggestions.

Grade School

“Out of the Woods: A True Story of an Unforgettable Event” by Rebecca Bond

“Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks” by Skila Brown

“Flop to the Top!” by Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing

“Amazing Places” poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins

“Flying Frogs and Walking Fish: Leaping Lemurs, Tumbling Toads, Jet-Propelled Jellyfish, and More Surprising Ways That Animals Move” by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

“Ling & Ting: Together in All Weather” by Grace Lin

“Written and Drawn” by Henrietta by Liniers

“Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear” by Lindsay Mattick

“Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems” by Bob Raczka

“Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras” by Duncan Tonatiuh

Middle School

“Booked” by Kwame Alexander

“The Trouble in Me” by Jack Gantos

“The Lie Tree” by Frances Hardinge

“To Catch a Cheat” by Varian Johnson

“Shadows of Sherwood: A Robyn Hoodlum Adventure” by Kekla Magoon

“Baba Yaga’s Assistant” by Marika McCoola “Ten Days a Madwoman: The Daring Life and Turbulent Times of the Original ‘Girl’ Reporter Nellie Bly” by Deborah Noyes

“Ten Days a Madwoman: The Daring Life and Turbulent Times of the Original ‘Girl’ Reporter Nellie Bly” by Deborah Noyes

“The Nest” by Kenneth Oppel

“The Hired Girl” by Laura Amy Schlitz

“Goodbye Stranger” by Rebecca Stead

“Children learn through a variety of activities, and almost everything we do presents an opportunity to read,” explains Reading Rockets, a national literacy initiative focused on helping young children learn to read. “When you’re eating breakfast, read the cereal box; if you’re in a restaurant, read the menu. Read the newspaper with your children and discuss what’s happening in the world.”

Reading Rockets provides a list of 10 weeks’ worth of suggested summer activities that involve reading and related skills. The organization notes that you don’t need to do all the activities and there is no specific order. Just pick some things that sound fun.

Here are some fun ways you can bring your reading list to life: 

Discover fun recipes based on book themes. If your child is reading “Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras” by Duncan Tonatiuh, plan a fun family night with Day of the Dead activities and traditional Mexican food.

Head to a sporting event. If your middle school child is reading “Booked” by Kwame Alexander, buy some tickets to a basketball game and make it a family event.

Travel the world or just your hometown. Traveling is a great way to teach kids about other customs, culture and traditions. Find some books that related to the place you are traveling to and point out spots along the way. Finding a virtual pen pal can be a great way to have some fun and learn about a different culture. If traveling isn’t in your budget, take a few historic outing in your hometown and make it an adventure.

Other suggested activities include things like choosing a cookbook from the library and making something from one of the recipes and reading science fiction novels while backyard camping under the stars.

Reading aloud to and with children also benefits all children — even teens — and is especially helpful for those who struggle with reading. An article in notes reading aloud increases a child’s attention span. It can also spark a child’s interest in reading because it demonstrates reading is activity parents value.

With a minimal effort each week, parents can help their children avoid summer learning loss and have some fun doing it!

About Canyon State Credit Union: Canyon State Credit Union has served the people of Arizona for more than 60 years, and is open for membership from anyone who lives, works, or worships in a number of zip codes within Arizona, as well as anyone who works for the credit union’s designated Select Employee Groups (SEGs). Their tagline at Canyon State is Committed To YOU™.   It’s not just a saying they take lightly, it’s a promise they make to provide members with the best products and services possible.