Thursday, May 21, 2015

Summer Reading GIVEAWAY!

Summer is right around the corner, and we know that parents are actively searching for camps and activities to help prevent the "sumer slide" from affecting a year's worth of hard work. Before we reveal the goodies in our Sumer Reading GIVEAWAY that one of our lucky Instagram and Facebook followers will receive, we'd like to talk a little bit more about the summer slide and how you can prevent it.

What is the summer slide?
The summer slide is a term used to describe the backtracking that happens when students do not read over the summer. Did you know that students can lose 2 months worth of reading performance if they don't actively engage with text over the summer? That means that your student could be 2 1/2 years behind their peers by the time they enter middle school.

Hasn't my child spent enough time reading at school?
NO! Did you know that, on average, children spend 7,800 hours at home and 900 hours at school annually? You have a lot of influence over your children's interest in reading. When students enter kindergarten, close to 100% of them are interested in reading a book outside of school. By 4th grade that drops to 54%, by 8th grade that drops to 30%, and by 12th grade it drops to 19%.  What causes that drop? Many experts believe it's caused by a drop in parents reading to and with their kids.

What's the difference between reading for 20 minutes a day and reading for 5 minutes a day?
A student that reads for 20 minutes a day reads 3,600 minutes per school year, which amounts to 1,800,000 words per year. These students tend to score in the 90th percentile on standardized tests. A student that reads for 5 minutes a day reads 900 minutes per school year, which amounts to 282,000 words per year. These students tend to score in the 50th percentile on standardized tests. Sadly, a student that reads for 1 minute a day reads 180 minutes per school year, which amounts to only 8,000 words per year. These students tend to score in the 10th percentile on standardized tests. Those little bits of minutes add up, so find a way to make it part of your routine.

How do I choose a book for my child?
There's a 5-finger rule that teachers use in the classroom. Open a book to any page and ask your child to read it aloud. For every word that they don't know, put up a finger (somewhere where they can't see it). If you put up 5 fingers for one page, the book is too difficult for your child, and they should select another book.

How can I read with my beginning reader?
Here are a list of strategies that you can use:

  • Encourage your child to use their finger to track the words they are reading.
  • Read a sentence and have your child repeat it.
  • Take turns reading sentences or pages.
  • Make predictions about the story and read to find out if you're correct.
  • Read your favorite books over and over again! Repeated reading helps build fluency and reading intonation.

What can I do to help prevent the summer slide?
There are so many things that you can do to make sure your students are engaging in text this summer. Here are a few ideas:

  • Find interactive books and games on your iPad that address reading and/or phonics.
  • Show your children all of the things that you read in your daily life. This might include recipes, directions, assembly instructions, or mail. 
  • Read to your child and let them hear the rhythm of words and exaggeration and expression in your voice!
  • Play games! Some games, such as Apples to Apples, encourage reading and are really fun to play. Slap some sight words onto Jenga blocks and read a block every time you draw one.
  • Set a good example by letting your children see YOU reading. Send a message that reading is valuable and important.
  • Visit your local library! Libraries are a great place to explore, and many local libraries, such as those here in Long Beach, offer summer reading incentives. 
  • Leave books for your child in the three best places, also knows as the three Bs: bed, bathroom, breakfast table.
What are some websites with FREE resources?
What is this GIVEAWAY all about?!
Alright, let's talk about this giveaway. Having something tangible helps our tactile learners and also serves as a reminder to read. Our giveaway features the following items:

1. $10 Target gift card to be used to pick out a fun new book!

2. Retell stick: This is a stick that has one side for fiction text and one side for non-fiction text. For fiction text, students place buttons on the stick, one by one, as they tell you the characters, setting, beginning, middle, and end of the story. For non-fiction text, they place buttons on the stick as they tell you the main idea and three supporting details.

3. Reading scavenger hunt: This is a treasure map that students follow as they complete reading tasks, such as reading a book that's been made into a movie, that takes place in your favorite city, etc. How fun is that?!

4. Response sticks: These are two sets of color-coded sticks that have comprehension questions on them. The blue sticks are for non-fiction (blue = true, get it?), and include questions such as, "What was the main idea of what you read, and what were the supporting details?" The yellow sticks are for fiction, and include questions such as, "If you were interviewing the main character, what questions would you ask?" This set also includes a dice, numbered 1-6, that can be rolled to determine how many sticks your child must draw and answer that day. Throw these in a small bucket or box by their books and keep it easy!

These are items we've used in the past, and we're so excited to offer them to you in this giveaway to keep your kids reading this summer! The giveaway runs from Friday, May 22, 2015 at 8:00am PST to Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 9:00pm PST. One winner will be announced on our Instagram page within 24 hours.

To enter: 
1. Follow me on Instagram @kidsunderconstruction
2. Tag a friend on my Instagram post in the comments
3. Like our Facebook page 
4. For an extra entry, share the link to this post on your Facebook page

Good luck and happy reading!


  1. Thank you for your article! It has some great info that we can use to help our homework coach students :)