Call this a public service announcement. Call this a cautionary tale. Call it whatever you want. I’m sharing this experience with the hope that it will help someone in your life.
This morning, I sat my math-loving child down and explained to him that we needed to review his sight words, which he’s refused to do since mid-May. (I allowed this since I’m not from the you-must-read-before-Kindergarten camp.) I said, “Ari, you start Kindergarten this month! I know we read books together every day, but I need you to work with me for ten minutes per weekday on reading between now and the first day of school.” He agreed — reluctantly.
Many of you have heard of summer reading loss. It’s a real thing! It’s the reason why I used to go head-to-head with Isabelle in the summers preceding third grade when reading was challenging for her. (Nowadays, she reads for an hour a day without a fight. THANK HEAVENS for that!) Yet, it’s something I didn’t worry about for Ari since he wasn’t reading yet. That said, I was shocked when I compared the number of sight words he could read today versus the amount he was able to read in mid-May.
Am I worried? No. I know Ari will get all of those words back — and maybe more — if we work together for ten minutes/weekday between now and the first day of school. But seeing the number of words he couldn’t recognize gave me pause about the amount of time it’s been since he read decodable texts to me, did word work, and played phonemic awareness games.
Throughout most of my childhood, I put off summer reading until mid-August. (We started school after Labor Day. Talk to me in person if you want to hear me rant about this.) It wasn’t until later in life that I loved to read because it was difficult for me growing up. So, if you have or know of a child who hasn’t found books they’ve loved this summer, help them find something they want to read. Remember: graphic novels and audiobooks count as reading!