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Monfredo: Parents, Reading Is Essential For Your Child This Summer

Sunday, June 12, 2016


Saturday, June11th ends the “Reading in our City Week.”  The week was initiated by Worcester: the City that Reads for our goal was to keep the “fire” burning on the need to promote literacy in our community. Throughout the city and within the schools many activities took place including the passing out  of thousands of books from our book drive. In addition, the Worcester Public Schools “Summer Reading List ” was passed out. If you did not get one contact your child’s school.

As mentioned in the brochure, “The Summer Reading list is an opportunity to help your child develop a lifelong love of reading while supporting and strengthening all of his/her hard work from the previous school year, setting him/her up for success in the fall.”

The brochure suggest that parents talk to their child about the importance of summer reading and help them select high interest books, establish a daily routine for reading, log in reading time, discuss with your child what he/she is reading and encourage them to complete the required reading activities as mentioned in the brochure.

I need to emphasize to our parents out there that the most important teacher in the life of your child during the summer vacation is the parent.  Please remember we have summer reading setbacks when children fail to read during the summer.  In this era of increased accountability, as a community, we need to do all that we can not to ignore the long ranging effects of summer reading setbacks on reading achievement.  It does occur when children do not read during the summer months.

 PARENT INVOLVEMENT IS KEY and I know that many parents are looking for ideas.  So here we go:

•    MAKE THE TIME – Establish quiet reading time after lunch or in the morning as a part of your child’s daily summertime routine.
•    SHOP SMART – look for books at yard sales, used book stores for you could save yourself some money and of course, VISIT THE WORCESTER PUBLIC LIBRARY.
•    CHECK FOR READING TIME MEETINGS – check out the Worcester Public Library, books stores such as Barnes and Noble, and museums.
•    TURN OFF THE TV – During the summer, it’s more important than ever to limit the number of hours of television children watch and establish a READING TIME EVENT.
•    REWARD READING – It’s fine to use incentives. Start with a sticker chart and let your child earn new paperbacks or special outings with you.
•    COOK AND READ – As you prepare a meal together, have your child read the recipe aloud to you.
•     How about a Family Night each week?  Bring out the popcorn and read a book. Try once in a while to get a book based on a movie. Then, show the movie and see if the book did follow the movie script.  Many movies can be obtained at the Worcester Public Library.
•     One of the best reading activities in this community is a visit to the Worcester Public Library for it’s free and the library opens the door to learning.  Here is a quick snippet of the libraries summer reading program.  On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!  The kick-off event is on June 17th at all the library branches in the afternoon and on June 18th the kick off will be at the Main Library at 3 Salem Square from 10:00 to 1:00 p.m.  The program runs until August 20th.   Be sure to register your child for summer reading and find out more about the  three levels of reading time achievement: 250 minutes, 500 minutes and 1,000 minutes for prizes are awarded at each level.  There is a grand prize drawing for a bicycle at the end of the summer.  Other prizes include a drawstring backpack, an assortment of different sports and playground balls, and t-shirts.  Children can track their reading online!  For more information visit www.mywpl.org or just go to the library kick-off and talk to one of the librarians.  A weekly visit to the library must be on your summer list and also find out when the book mobile visits your area this summer.


In addition, before your child leaves for summer vacation your school should have given him a book or two to read … courtesy of Worcester: the City that Reads give a book program.  If you didn’t get a book, email me and I’ll get you one for your child… [email protected].  It is essential that we put books into the hands of our children and as we have said  through the WORCESTER READS slogan … “The more I read The More I’ll know 20 minutes a day Will help me grow” 

Also, be sure that your child has a diary in the summer time and have him write the highlights of his day each evening before going to bed. Other writing activities could be writing to the Worcester Sunday Happy Time Page ( topics are given each week and you send in the essay to the newspaper.)  Points accumulated will lead to a free book from the newspaper.  In addition have your child  write a letter to a friend, relative, or even to a member of the School Committee, me!   It’s important that your child writes often for the more he writes, just like reading, the better writer he/she will be.

 In addition, be sure to have your child write about their favorite book that they read this summer and send their essay to me – John Monfredo, 8 Cherokee Road Worcester, Ma. 01606. I will select the winning essays from grades K to three, grades 4 to six, and from seven up. The winners will be rewarded with new books and if anyone writes about one of their books that they read before July 4th I’ll send you a ticket to one of Worcester Bravehearts baseball games. 

I sincerely hope that I have raised parents’ awareness of the importance of supporting their children’s learning in the summer time and have provided some ideas that one can do at home.  All you need is to be organized and have the right plan. Consider some of simple strategies in this column for preventing summer learning loss. Parents, you are the child’s first and most important teachers and it is up to you to provide the needed guidance during the summer time.  You can prevent the “summer slide” and I have the confidence that you will do it.

As stated by Horace Mann, the first great American advocate of public education, “A house without books is like a room without windows. No one has a right to bring up children without surrounding them with books….”


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