As an educator, I see reading as the most powerful means to promote understanding or better comprehension skills among students in school. Most often, we account the academic difficulties of learners in school to their poor reading capability.
Normally, after graduation or closing program, the learners would rush to summer vacation and spend the time on different exciting activities spending it on play time until physical exhaustion which would lead them to forget things they learned in school. In fact, research shows children lose one to three months of learning during the summer, and that loss can be compounded every year. For millions of low income kids, that delay impacts their likelihood of attending college or even earning a high school diploma.
Obviously this is a foreign scenario however we could equate this in our own setting. It’s a common observation among teachers that children who are fond of reading perform well in class than those who do not have the love for it.
Conducting Summer Reading Camp in our school is so beneficial among learners and educators. Through it, we can help the students develop their love for reading by making this activity a regular program which should be participated by all learners especially those who belong to the non-readers and the frustration level.
Even in America, Ron Fairchild director of the National Summer Learning Association and the nationally recognized experts on reading and summer learning address how to make the most out of the summer months. He stressed that, “Taking advantage of high-quality programs and accessing community resources can turn potential summer loss into summer gain.”
Summer Reading which we do in a very informal manner -reading under the tents installed on the ground, perhaps on the rocks in the flower garden or under the trees is also for the independent readers. It’s like having a dry picnic. It is learning while having fun with their classmates and circle of friends.
Dr. Loriene Roy, the president of the American Library Association shared tips to make the most of summer reading learning. “You don’t need to read their book , you just need to get the conversation going with open-ended questions or very specific ones and see if your child can answer with details or too much generalities that might tell you that reading is not going well!
When trying to start a conversation about their reading, you can ask about the main character- does the author describe the character so that your child gets a glimpse of his personality; or has the child read enough to be able to physically describe the characters. Ask about the intrigue / problem, then continue the conversation and ask your child if that reminds them of an event or another book that they know about. Maybe you can make a connection to something you read as a child. Ask about how the situation you last discussed together has evolved or has been resolved. If you take the habit of asking about what your child is reading, you might be surprised that one day your child will come to you to share “what is happening“ in the book.
Another challenge for the teacher who facilitates reading camp activities is for the teacher to share his own readings. Help children see that reading is NOT only homework, it is a skill used throughout life -sharing his interest in books, the big task of reading report for his work, discussing the stats in the sports page, comparing the nutritional values on the cereal boxes with the child. There are many ways to show them that reading is used daily and for many different reasons and it gives a few minutes of meaningful and interested conversation.
Through summer reading camp, we cannot only make use of our reading resources such as LRC and Library, but also establish linkages with parents who are receptive and supportive of this program. Schools in our district conducted the summer reading camp observing the synchronized schedule of implementation of the Division of Malaybalay City last April 5-16. We are delighted that the regional and division monitoring teams visited Zamboanguita CS on April 7.
Realizing the benefits of these activities, I enjoin everyone to keep supporting summer reading camp for it encourages children to spend increased time with books, develop reading habits and boost their academic performance.
By: Manny Pimentel, Ed.D.
Caburacanan ES & Kulaman ES