Here is the problem. As Malcolm Galdwell out it in Outliers,
When it comes to reading skills, poor kids learn nothing when school is not in session. The only problem with school, for the kids who aren’t achieving, is that there isn’t enough of it… For its poorest students, America doesn’t have a school problem. It has a summer vacation problem…
The New York Times just published this: Summer Must-Read for Kids? Any Book by Tara Parker-Pope. Here are some key excerpts:
Although adults often jump at the chance to catch up on their reading during vacations, many children and teenagers, particularly those from low-income families, read few, if any, books during the summer break from school.
But the price for keeping the books closed is a high one. Several studies have documented a “summer slide” in reading skills once school lets out each spring. The decline in reading and spelling skills are greatest among low-income students, who lose the equivalent of about two months of school each summer, according to the National Summer Learning Association, an education advocacy group. And the loss compounds each year.
Now new research offers a surprisingly simple, and affordable, solution to the summer reading slide. In a three-year study, researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville found that simply giving low-income children access to books at spring fairs — and allowing them to choose books that most interested them — had a significant effect on the summer reading gap.
It really does seem that there is a simple solution to help close the reading gap: give school children some books to read over the summer vacation (how about the rest of the year, too?) – books they choose themselves. Which, by the way, is the way most adults build their own reading stack – they get to choose the books themselves. And the key message is this: read what you want to read — just be sure to keep reading.