Working with scores of parents and educators this past year as I trained them how to utilize my “Building School-Home Relationships” kits, I have fielded a number of questions from stressed-out educators and anxious parents. One of the biggest fears people have relates to how best to help children during their summer breaks.
Remember, it’s the simple things that tend to work best. Rather than advise you on ways to help your children succeed, I thought it would be a little more informative and educating to provide some hints on how to help your children fail.
There are a variety of ways to help discourage your children from learning. Here are some of the best techniques to use if you’d like your children to return to school this fall severely under-prepared:
1. Stop talking with your children. A large body of research shows that students who come from homes where a lot of talking takes place perform significantly higher at school than students who live in home environments where a lot of talking does not take place. Interestingly, it does not matter what language is being spoken at home; all that matters is a lot of language is being spoken. So one great way to help your children to fail is to stop having conversations with your children.
2. Keep your children away from interesting reading materials. People who read more, read better. This is clearly demonstrated in numerous studies. A great way to help children’s reading aptitudes and attitudes decline this summer is to remove any opportunities for your children to read books, magazines and other materials that may interest them. Make sure to avoid libraries and bookstores!
3. Stay inside. Why bother taking your children out on trips to different places when they can stay at home and watch the latest reality shows on television? Your children will revel at the thought of comparing their staycations with the adventures their peers have traveling, attending camps and other various activities.
4. Don’t read to your children or in front of your children. Since you are your children’s greatest role model, one great way to ensure their failure this summer is to quit any nightly read-aloud rituals, and by no means should you read in front of your children. Doing these two things are a sure route to improving children’s reading, and you don’t want that, do you?
Let’s face it: parents matter. Summer vacation can cause havoc on many working parents’ schedules. Regardless, researchers have seen for years that the gaps in learning between different groups of students are not created in schools; they are created in homes. In order to ensure your children fall behind their peers this summer, it is critical that you do your best to avoid talking with your children, keep interesting reading materials away from them and quit modeling good reading habits. Failure to follow these tips may result in your children performing better in school and becoming avid readers.
So What Will You Do with Your Children This Summer?
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Danny Brassell, Ph.D., is “America’s Leading Reading Ambassador,” helping parents and educators inspire kids to love reading and achieve more. He is the author of 14 books, and he acted as the lead consultant for the Building School-Home Relationships kits (Shell, 2012) that have been enthusiastically adapted in school districts across the country. A father of three and professor in the Teacher Education Department at California State University-Dominguez Hills, he is the founder of The Lazy Readers’ Book Club, www.lazyreaders.com, Google’s #1-ranked site for cool, “short book recommendations” for all ages. Watch video tips and learn more from Danny at www.dannybrassell.com, where you can check out his TEDx-Village Gate talk The Reading Makeover and download other free resources.