submitted by Walter Boomsma
As most know, Valley Grange is very much involved with our schools in regards to literacy and reading. Studies have validated what is called the “summer slide.” Children who don’t read or who read rarely over the summer encounter a stagnation or decline in their reading skills. At least one estimate suggests this can be overcome by children reading just five grade level appropriate books over summer vacation.
Can your Grange encourage this? Absolutely! You might consider partnering with your local library–many have summer reading programs and events. Or how about a community potluck supper with a side order of reading? This could have all sorts of variations: kids who bring a book they are reading eat free… or maybe there’s a “book exchange” where you invite kids to bring books they’ve read to exchange with others. At Valley Grange, we keep a milk crate of children’s books in the dining hall… whenever a child visits us for a supper or a program they are invited to take a book home as long as they promise to read it.
Don’t just think about reading to children–a key component of Valley Grange’s bookworm program is that we have the kids reading to us! Several months ago a second grader started a book with me that we didn’t have time to finish. When her turn came up again recently she brought the same book and remembered exactly where we’d left off. This is a kid for whom reading is important. It’s nice to feel our program is contributing.
Just get something started–it’s doesn’t have to be massive and complicated.
“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read?with a child.”
―???? Dr. Seuss