School’s out?! Let the fun begin! At our house, school breaks mean lots of fun activities – but also a little continuing education. Learning does not stop when the bell rings for winter break.
Along with their other responsibilities at home, our kids are expected to read for an hour each day. Our kids are avid readers, so an hour is fitting for them. But one hour can be a long time for some kids. In that case, a good place to start is 10 minutes per grade (1st graders read for 10 minutes, 2nd graders for 20 minutes, etc.).
While the kids were weary of this at first, they grew to enjoy checking it off their daily list. They learned that reading has so many benefits, for example, reading…
1. Helps keep kids on track, especially over winter break. After a few weeks or a month of being out of school, any progress that was being made during the school year can come to a halt. Kids can quickly forget lessons learned, good habits that were formed, and basic skills that were taught (especially in the few weeks before break!).
Reading keeps the brain moving. Comprehension can help kids retain important information, and get them geared up for the second half of the school year.
2. Gives them a break from technology! I’m sure many of you parents out there can agree, if kids had it their way, they’d play on the computer, their phones or other gaming systems ALL DAY.
Even though, more times than not, my children would probably choose some sort of educational game – I still struggle with allowing that much screen time! Getting them to unplug for one hour, or whatever is suitable for your little ones, gives me a sigh of relief – even if it’s brief! In addition, it allows them to think creatively, which brings us to reason #3.
3. Provides them with a short break from reality. The holidays can be a stressful time! With so many different places to be, and people to see, the break of routine can cause stress in our kids. Reading a good book allows kids to take a break from reality -- they can head out on an adventure to a faraway place for a little while!
4. Reinforces Social Skills. Not only are important social skills learned at home, they’re reinforced in the classroom. Simple skills such as “following instructions,” “accepting NO for an answer,” and “showing respect” are taught several times a day through lesson plans and interactions in the classroom. Without that piece of the puzzle, kids can forget the importance of these skills!
Books and resources from Boys Town Press teach and reinforce those important skills in every story. Choose from a variety of characters, story lines and social skills to find the best storybook for your child!
Tip for teachers: Discuss your expectations or recommendations for winter break with parents at parent-teacher conferences, or in the weeks between Thanksgiving and winter break. It’s important that parents and teachers are on the same page, so that when students come back in January they’re ready to learn!
Also, don’t forget to provide a list of a few suggested books for students to read over break!
To keep reading fun, here’s an activity to keep kids on track over the holiday break. Download this map and have your kids answer the questions and color the map, based on the books they’re reading over break.