For most kids, summertime means waking up late, playing video games, and getting outside with friends. However, research has shown that the summer break can lead to a significant loss in learning known as the summer slide. In fact, studies suggest that students can lose about 20% of their reading gains from the school year over the summer break.
To help your child maintain and improve his or her reading gains, we’ve put together a list of 10 Strategies to Combat the Summer Slide. You can also try out one of our interactive online reading programs to help strengthen phonics and decoding skills, which are critical for reading success.
1. Read books aloud together every day. The benefits of reading aloud to your kids are endless: improved vocabulary and comprehension, time to talk about and discuss complex issues, and bonding time with your children. For ideas on great read aloud books for families, visit Scholastic.com.
2. Get creative with your reading spaces. Build a fort in the basement or set up a tent in your living room complete with pillows, favorite blankets and bean bags. Bring in flashlights for reading at night. Encourage your kids to get creative and go with their ideas!
3. Go to your local library often. Another strategy is to make regular trips to the library. For younger kids, libraries often have reading clubs and weekly story times. Older children may enjoy the library’s other summer events and activities. Libraries also have reading lists available for all ages. If your library is closed due to COVID-19, check out their ebook lists to pull up on your tablet at home.
4. Let your child have a say in what he/she reads. The goal is to instill a love of reading in your child, so try to be enthusiastic about their book choices even if it’s not what you would have picked out for them. The greater say they have in their book choices, the greater buy in you’ll have from them.
5. Don’t forget about audiobooks. Many audiobooks are read by the author and include noises, background music, and/or author commentary, which can help keep listeners engaged. This reading strategy is great for struggling readers too since audiobooks allow children to listen to books that may be higher than their reading level.
6. Schedule reading time daily. Set aside time every day for reading time when it doesn’t compete with other activities. It could be first thing in the morning after breakfast, right before bedtime, or any time in between. What matters is that it works for your schedule.
7. Use trips and vacations to encourage reading. If you’re planning a trip to the petting zoo, find books about animals that you may encounter there. This can work great for older kids too. If you’re traveling to a city, you may encourage them to read about its history. For example, if you’re going to Boston, pick up some age appropriate books about Paul Revere or American History. Going to the beach in North Carolina? Grab a few books about the Wright brothers.
8. Don’t limit reading to books. Magazine subscriptions can be a great way to engage your readers no matter their interests. There are magazines about animals, sports, dolls, and just about anything else. You can subscribe to them and get them in the mail, or many of them can be accessed at your local library.
9. Connect books to movies. Read a book together and then celebrate by popping some popcorn and watching the movie version of the book. Afterwards, discuss what differences you saw between the book and movie and which one you liked better. For suggestions on good books that have turned into movies, check out FamilyEducation.com's list.
10. Make sure your kids see you reading too! Don’t forget to pick up books for yourself at the library and set an example of reading at home. Turn off the TV, put your cell phone away, and get caught reading. Your kids will see your example and model your behavior. If not, they’ll at least know that reading was important to you.