School's Out - Reading's In!
School is out for many students, bringing relief from the hectic finals rush. The spring testing cycle is over, too: the SAT and ACT dates in the fall seem a lifetime away. Students are gearing up for their summer plans – camp, travel, internships. No matter what your student is doing this summer, she should always have these by her side: books.
Despite the differences in content areas, all sections of all standardized tests have reading in common. Students have to read to understand Math problems; read to recognize the big idea in a Reading Comp text; read to find the right detail in an ACT Science chart. The more students are comfortable with reading as an activity, the better they’ll do on all sections of their standardized tests.
Students gain more vocabulary through reading than in the classroom: according to researchers Anne E. Cunningham and Keith E. Stanovich, “Most theorists are agreed that the bulk of vocabulary growth during a child’s lifetime occurs indirectly through language exposure rather than through direct teaching.”
So what should you do? First, make sure that reading is a pleasure for your student, not a chore. Get excited when you talk about reading, and model good reading habits yourself.
If your student is interested in a certain topic, find books and well-written magazines that focus on that area. If he already enjoys reading, encourage him to try a new time period (Victorian! Mid-Century!) or a new genre (Science Fiction! Historical!). This exposes students to new vocabulary and writing techniques, which they’ll be rewarded for understanding during their testing.
Get the whole family involved: set aside an evening or a weekend afternoon for reading – turn off the TV and power down your laptops and tablets. The more opportunities students have for reading, the easier it’ll be to make positive reading habits.
The perfect recipe for a relaxing, enriching summer: your student and plenty of books.