arts & entertainment
Keeping the reading bug alive
r g By Ellen Schwartz No more pencils, no more books No more teachers’ dirty looks! “ ”
making time to read together and providing plenty of reading material for them
to dig into.
WHAT DO Fancy Nancy,
Amelia Bedelia and Frog and
WHILE THIS joyous cry of freedom may
ring across the land on the last day of school,
the reality is that children’s reading skills tend
to drop during the summer months. Research
shows that children who don’t read during
the summer, especially reluctant readers and
at-risk students, can lose up to three months
of reading progress.
Here are some tips for keeping your children engaged in
books all summer long.
Toad have in common? They’re all
beloved children’s-book characters and they’re
all part of HarperCollins’ I Can Read! series.
The series kicked off in 1957 after a Boston librarian
called a friend at the publishing company and told her
about the dearth of books children could read themselves.
The good news is that summer reading
loss can easily be prevented. Reading as few as
six books over the summer will help young
children maintain their reading levels. And
the more children read, the better readers
Be a model. Experts
agree that this is the most
important thing parents
can do. Children who
observe their parents
reading become eager
readers themselves. Discuss the stories you like
and why you like them.
The first book in the series was Else Holmelund Minarik’s
Little Bear. Danny and the Dinosaur, by Syd Hoff, followed
in 1958, with hundreds more added over the last four decades.
Titles in the series, aimed at children between the ages of
4 and 7, are broken into five levels and ranked from the first stage,
“Shared Reading,” to “Advanced Reading.”
Use the library.
The books in the series are known for telling stories
that have a proper beginning, middle and end; good verbal
The Costco Connection Costco carries a variety of books, including I Can Read! titles, along with workbooks, to keep young readers—from toddlers to teens—busy during the summer months.
The keys to success, say experts, are let-
ting kids know that reading is important,
Make sure your children
have a library card, and
check your local public
library for summer reading
programs and clubs. See the
sidebar for more information.
and visual clues to help children figure out unfamiliar
words; and “fantastic illustrations.” (Little Bear was,
after all, illustrated by Maurice Sendak.)
For activities and information for parents
and educators, visit
Link books to summer activities. Taking in a baseball game? Suggest
that your child read a story about baseball or
a biography of a famous player. Going on a
—Stephanie E. Ponder
family camping trip? Put your child in
charge of reading about the area and
planning a tour.
Pair books with movies. Read
the book, pop the popcorn and
Give kids time to read. Even summer
schedules can be jam-packed, so be sure to set
aside time for reading. Suggest that kids bring
along a book to the beach or cabin or on driving vacations.
watch the related film as a family. When watching TV, turn on
the closed captioning feature to give
kids reading practice.
Match your child’s interests
with a nonfiction book. From
cooking to sports, crafts to pet care,
nonfiction books not only provide
information but also give kids the
chance to try things for themselves.
Provide variety. Graphic novels, poetry,
novels written in letter or email format,
magazines, newspapers—the possibilities
are endless. And let kids choose their own
books. Ninety-one percent of children say
they are more likely to finish a book they
Check local programs. Some schools
send home recommended reading lists for the
summer; kids check in at the beginning of the
school year to see if they have met their reading goals.
Encourage kids to read aloud. They can
read to grandparents or younger siblings. Try
turning down the lights and reading aloud as
a family. Who doesn’t succumb to the pleasure
of “Once upon a time …”? C
Ellen Schwartz is the author of 15 books for
children, ranging from picture books to teen
fiction. Her latest, The Case of the Missing
Deed, is a culinary mystery that combines
recipes with a mystery story.
MAY 2012 ;e Costco Connection