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    The Summer Break Conundrum

    August 26, 2010 by Brandy Vencel

    Some children will practice their reading skills all summer long and hardly lose a bit of knowledge — in fact, even gain some by asking good questions. Other children (I won’t name any names) spend their summers collecting frogs and learning to catch butterflies with their hands.

    On the first day of school, these latter sorts will look up at you when you hand them a book, their face plainly asking, “What’s that for?”

    We could hypothesize that I have seen this look.


    So the question becomes: What do we do with children after summer break?

    Granted, unless the child is extremely young, he isn’t going to forget everything. But he’s going to forget a lot, and he’s also going to have gotten out of normal habits of reading. For instance, the child who shall remain nameless has forgotten that we do not guess — we either know the word at hand, or we sound it out.

    (I had a guesser on my hands today.)

    So. What to do?

    I’ve had a couple days to formulate my plan of attack, but first let me say one thing: Playing outside is more important than reading, especially before the child is nine or ten. Children are meant to spend long summer days out-of-doors. In fact, I have now read in a number of places that if there is one drawback to early readers, it’s that they ruin their vision by reading before their body is ready for it.

    My firstborn has certainly proven this to be true.

    So we figure out how to begin again where we are. We do not regret spending the summer outside.



    So, my autumn rehabilitation program is going to look like this:

    Day 1: Review everything on the binder page from the last lesson of the school year. This means every phonetic sound the child has learned, plus every sight word. I was lucky and the child-who-shall-remain-nameless remembered every sound save “hard-g” and only forgot 25% of the sight words. Not bad for a scatter-brained person. After all of this review, reread Bob Books Set 1 Book 1.

    Day 2 and following: Do the same thing, reading the next Bob Book (or two, if the child can handle it), and do this each day, until said child has read through every Bob Book they had previously read.

    Only after this will we begin new lessons in earnest.

    If the child is literally flying through this, then skip books until you find their “level.” It’s that simple.

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