Once summer break starts, most students are ready to relax, play, and sleep in. Parents, on the other hand, are on the lookout for meaningful educational experiences to keep the academic momentum going strong.

Students who stop reading, and learning over the summer break, can lose those months of vital academic growth and progress. Some even backslide and then head back to school at a significant disadvantage.

If you’re thinking about sending your child to a reading camp this summer, look for curriculum and activities that address these goals:

1) Encourage a love of reading

2) Use appropriate reading assessments 

3) Teach reading fundamentals like decoding skills

4) Use of multisensory, Orton-Gillingham method of teaching

5) Provide many opportunities for reading success

Additionally, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Reading Assessment, students who read for fun almost every day scored higher - on average, 18 points higher for fourth graders and 29 points higher for eighth graders - on this assessment than their peers who read for fun rarely or not at all (NAEP, 2009).

Attitudes toward reading dramatically decline beginning in fourth grade. In fact, 48 percent of fourth graders said that they read for fun “almost every day,” compared to 21 percent of eighth graders who said that they read for fun “almost every day” (NAEP, 2008). A minimal 18 percent of twelfth graders said that they read for fun “almost every day.”

A good summer camp will not only teach systematic phonics but camp counselors will encourage your child to focus on reading for fun in order to promote lifelong reading habits.

You can create an “at home” version of a summer reading camp yourself. See tomorrow’s post for ideas and a camp schedule.