Summertime for students usually means a summer slide in reading skills. While you could enroll your child in back-to-back academic camps, having them read, early and often, can stave off most of the ill-effects of a summer slide.
Students should be allowed to choose what they read, but as an added incentive, encourage them to read texts that will be studied in the upcoming school year. For middle and high school students, using summer to read literary texts for the upcoming school year is an excellent way to get ahead, reduce school stress and build confidence.
Here are my three top tips:
- WATCH MOVIES BASED ON THE NOVELS. Watch movies based on the novels, short stories or plays students will read for the upcoming school year. The movie is NOT A SUBSTITUTE for reading. However, most students have a very limited knowledge of history and how people spoke or dressed prior to 2015. Seeing the film before reading the book helps students understand the plot and allows them to better imagine characters, scenes and voices.
- WATCH SHAKESPEARE’S PLAYS BEFORE AND AFTER READING THE TEXT. Shakespeare’s plays were meant to be performed so the audience can simultaneously experience the gesture, voice and emotion that accompany his words. Students should see a film version first, in its entirety, BEFORE they read the play. After reading the play, students should view the film version again.
- READ WITHOUT ANNOTATING. During the summer, with the luxury of time, students should read literature WITHOUT annotating the text. Taking copious notes in fear of a possible quiz or essay completely kills the actual enjoyment and pleasure of reading fiction and sinking into the dream. There will be time enough for that during the school year.