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Educational Survey Findings: Reading -- The number one summer educational activity

June 3, 2009

With summer upon us, many Canadian families are beginning to look for ways to incorporate summer learning into their holiday plans. According to a recent study conducted by Ipsos-Reid for Kumon Math and Reading Centres, one of the best ways parents can keep their child's skills sharp for next September is as simple and fun as a trip to the library.

The responses from more than 1,000 Canadian parents of children between the ages of five and 15 shows that about eight in ten parents of children who perform at an above-average level in the classroom encourage reading as an integral part of their holiday plans.

However, it's not just about reading every day, as only 33 per cent of parents whose children are performing at an above average level in school read with their child every day, citing time and material availability as obstacles.

"There's no doubt that putting the texts in the hands of children is important; but it's much more than that. It's about modeling reading and engaging with your child in the reading process," says Dr. Donna McGhie-Richmond, educational specialist with Kumon Math and Reading Centres.

From letting their child see them (parents) read for enjoyment on a regular basis to nurture the habit (83 per cent), to discussing the book just read with their child (60 per cent), to praising their child for reading (95 per cent), parents of above-average children focus just as much on modeling and talking about their reading experiences as they do on reading itself.

"Going beyond the text through questions and discussion helps your child to develop their understanding of what was read as well as their skills in thinking about and analyzing texts: all pertinent to success in the classroom," explains Dr. McGhie-Richmond. "It also gives your child the opportunity to delve deeper into the opinions and implications the story expresses, helping to develop their personal point-of-view. And as a parent, you benefit by learning more about your child!"

Here are a few tips from Dr. McGhie-Richmond and Kumon Math and Reading Centres on how to make the most out of your vacation reading activities:

• Let children read what they like. Children are more likelyto discover the joy of reading, andread more on their own when they choose their own topics and genres, whether it be novels, picture books, guide books, or comics in print or electronic formats.

• Make time for reading aloud. Reading aloud to young preschoolers is essential to develop a sense of the rhythm and patterns of language – important foundational reading skills. In fact, reading aloud is enjoyable at any age. Discover this for yourself by reading aloud to your child and having your child read aloud to you.

• A better listener is a better learner. Read slowly enough with appropriate pauses to allow your child time to picturethe story in his or her mind. Readingaloud builds listening skills.Ask your child questions about what they are envisioning, which will help them make important connections between the text and what they are picturing based on their own experiences.

• Vary the subject matter. Mix it up, both in the type andlength of the books you read.Reading above your child's readinglevel on occasion can motivatea child's love of learning and stretch their understanding. It alsohelps to build vocabulary.

• Talk about what you are reading. Foster your child'scuriosity and answer questions tomake the entire process moreenjoyable. It's okay to make fun ofpictures or talk about words thatsound silly.

Kumon Math and Reading Centres' podcasting series, The Learning Curve, can be downloaded from iTunes for more tips and hints to help your child make the most of their learning experience.

You can learn more about Kumon's reading program online at


These are the findings of a poll conducted on behalf of Kumon Canada from April 6 to April 10, 2009. This online survey of 1,024 Canadian adults was conducted via the Ipsos I-Say Online Panel, Ipsos-Reid's national online panel. The results of this poll are based on a sample where quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to Census data. An unweighted probability sample of this size, with a 100% response rate, would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had the entire adult population of Canada with children been polled.


Kumon is an after-school math and reading program. The learning method uses a systematic individualized approach that helps children develop a solid command of math and reading skills. Through daily practice and mastery of materials, students increase confidence, improve concentration and develop better study skills. Kumon has 26,000 centres in 45 countries and more than four million students studying worldwide. Kumon Canada is headquartered in Vaughan, Ontario. To learn more visit or call 1-800-ABC-MATH.

For more information contact:
Daniel Wooster
Public Relations Manager
Kumon Canada Inc.
Phone: 1-800-266-6681 ext. 2265
Cell: 647-501-4461

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