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Beyond Summer Reading for Pleasure, Joy and Smarts!

Many students' reading skills diminish over the summer months away from school ... but there are solutions lurking in books and under rocks!

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Summer is finally hitting in our little corner of the Southern California "paradise" and people are swarming to the beach to escape inland temperatures.

Just in time, I received this notice about how summer reading is a benefit ... but wait... I had a brainstorm....!

The idea of students slipping in their reading abilities is called "summer loss." The concept is based, in part, on the research of James Sangil Kim, Ed.D., Harvard University.

Dr. Kim's research suggests that while many students' reading skills diminish over the summer months away from school, students who read a minimum of eight high-interest books at their Lexile level over the summer can achieve similar gains in reading growth as students who attend summer school.

How about "Nature-Loss"?

May I suggest that summer is also a very necessary excursion into nature to reconnect with natural systems, and our natural treasures. Beaches. Forests. Deserts. Gardens. Parks. (that's 5!) ... Backyards. Neighborhood wilderness nooks. State and National Parks. (that's 8!)

Seriously, research is showing that when we disconnect from the outdoors -- and yes, we spend as much as 98% of our daily hours INDOORS -- we lose our innate understanding that "everything is connected". And that fresh air is connected to walking vs. driving. And that clean clothes can add to water pollution. And that dogs poop and pee and contaminate our ground water. You know... all those little common sense things we've gathered over the years, and don't have time to pass on to the next generation ... whether they are our children, grandchildren, neighbors, nieces and nephews, or young friends.

Try giving a child an inexpensive digital camera to explore 101 nooks and crannies of nature!

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. Rachel Carson

So... in addition to providing children with book reading ... help them connect with some "nature reading" ... first hand experience with the greens, the insects, the living soil, the summer breezes and sunrays of life!

Just an idea that will bring a smile to you ... and them!

PS: And don't forget to sign up for our GreenLines newsletter so you can get more green survival and thrival ideas like these mixed in with great B2B and sustainable community solutions! You matter. You rock!

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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