The first step in becoming a better reader is learning to read. This includes learning the alphabet, decoding words phonetically, and building vocabulary. Over time children put this foundation to work as they read to learn and grasp concepts.  This brings a child to utilize the skill of reading comprehension, which is currently emphasized in schools.

The current school curriculum is emphasizing reading, specifically reading comprehension versus attaining general knowledge. And yet, despite the enormous expenditure of time and resources on reading, American children haven’t become better readers.1 For the past 20 years, only about a third of students have scored at or above the “proficient” level on national tests.

Also, the school-free summer months can bring on learning losses of one to two months in reading compared to the previous year. So what can you do???

  1. Begin early. Read aloud to your infant as part of a daily routine. As your child gets older, you can begin to engage and ask questions and talk about the story. Once your child begins to read, have her read aloud to you.

  2. Role model. Read! Check out books from the library. Show an interest in reading and your child may develop the same interest. Read articles, books, recipes, etc. that role model that you read as well.

  3. Make appropriate materials easily accessible to encourage reading. Have magazines, newspapers, and articles available that engage your child’s interest. Through proper adult supervision and controlling filters, you can even find interesting reading on the internet.

  4. Find help if necessary. Most children can learn to read, even if some do need a little more assistance. Solicit help from teachers or professionals to determine if your child has a learning disability or other problem that needs extra support. 

With your support and encouragement, your child will begin a lifelong journey of reading.

  1. Why American Students Haven't Gotten Better at Reading in 20 Years, Natalie Wexler, The Atlantic, April 13, 2018

Summer is Coming - Get Ready for the Slide


As the school year comes to an end, students get excited about relaxing, having fun and enjoying the warmer weather. As they hit the playground and run for the slide, their memory and learnings from the school year begin to slide. So how do we prevent “slide” over the summer?

“In their overview of the summer slide, Quinn and Polikoff offer a few key facts:

  • Learning and achievement are perishable. The average student loses a month of academic-calendar learning each summer.

  • The impact of the summer slide contributes to a more pronounced achievement gap.

  • Research has found a link between socioeconomic status and the loss of reading skills experienced over the summer.

  • Studies show older students lose more over the summer than younger ones.

  • Students see greater academic dips in math than in reading.”1

Here are some things that can be done to slow the knowledge “slide”:

Head to the library. Read, read, read… select a book that interests the child. Reading improves English capabilities and increases word knowledge. Reading can be interactive by having discussions with the family – providing summaries or reading together for the younger ones. As writing is being more emphasized in school, a short book summary could be written to keep up the practice.

Keep the communication going. In addition to reading with the child or reviewing books together, communicate with your children. Ask about their day, incorporate items that are being studied – colors, letters, numbers, animals, history, civics, etc. Connect with an instructor or educational coach to provide support.

Complete work over summer. There are many options to get assigned work over summer break. Schools or libraries may supply summer projects. Also many after-school supplemental educational programs offer assignments for summer.

Do work at home. While there are many options to do homework over the summer, utilizing online versions of programs can be very supportive. The more interactive, the more likely children will spend some of their summer break doing online studies at home.

Implementing a strategy can prevent the “slide” of your child’s knowledge over summer. Contact your local Eye Level Center to discuss how their summer programs can help.


  1. Ariel Goldberg, 2018,  What Summer Slide Actually Means-and 5 Ways to Fight it

Eye Level Summer Programs & Activities

Moving towards the end of the school year can be a very exciting time for students who are gearing up for the joys of summer break. On the other hand, these feelings may not be the same for parents who are looking for ways to keep their students in the learning process during the summer months as well as keeping them off the couch. There are many week-long summer camps that students can partake in that can be fun and engaging but many of those only last a week here and there and can also cost a great deal of money. Many parents will spend hundreds to some thousands of dollars for full week-long camps all summer long. 

This summer gear up for some additional reading and math at your local Eye Level centers. During the summer months Eye Level offers both an English Reading program and math Critical Thinking program. The English program focuses primarily on novel based reading and book report writing. It also incorporates learning how to reflect back into the text looking for answers to questions as well as being able to determine and break down the structure of a story. It helps students become confident readers and writers by guiding them on what to consider while reading and how to formulate thoughtful responses to the text. Students will attend the Eye Level Center twice a week, with one class being utilized as their regular class and the other as their summer reading session. This is a great way for students to not only continue their reading over the summer but to assist with the long hours of completing that summer reading assignment of writing book reports. 

Additionally, Eye Level also offers a summer math program, Math Brain Boost, that focuses solely on critical thinking and the new Math Word Problem Booklets. It advances students by focusing on problem solving and reasoning. This program can help motivate students during the long summer months. As with English, students will continue to come twice a week to their local centers. One session will be their normal Eye Level session and the other will focus on the additional critical thinking booklets and word problem booklets. Summer isn’t just about math and Reading but can also provide students with learning different aspects of life around them. With the technology advances that are provided today, students can continue to work in the different subject areas with the hundreds of websites geared for student learning. There are programs online where students are able to show their creativity with drawing, build online with digital designers or even create booklets of their own through the use of stories and/or pictures. The internet has the ability to provide students will all different types of fun learning. Museum websites can provide students will alternate ways of learning. If students are going to be on the computer or tables during the summer, it’s best to making learning active and hands on. Download ways to make science experiments that can easily be done in the house with simple supervision.