The “summer slide” is when children fall behind on their reading skills over the summer break.
Studies show that most children enter a new grade on a lower reading level than when they left the previous one when they don’t continue to read over the break. Luckily, there are many tips and tricks for beating the summer slide.
Reading as a Chore – Not so Fast
Children may view reading as a chore, but this doesn’t have to be the case. A common issue for families is a lack of reading material in the home. Libraries offer free summer reading programs and book challenges. All it takes is a quick visit to learn about programming and to apply for a library card. Generally, libraries will have a children’s librarian that can suggest books for your child that will interest them and be on their reading level.
When children choose their own books, they will be more invested in what they are reading. This is shown to increase reading levels more effectively than assigned reading. Children are more likely to read books from start to finish if their interest is piqued. This doesn’t only apply to chapter books. Graphic novels, comic books, magazines, and joke books are all great ways for children to apply their reading skills and reinforce the joy of reading.
Books that Interest Students – Let them Pick
It may also help to introduce books that you think will interest your child to them. They may skip over great options just because they don’t know that they will connect with the material. Introducing characters, settings, and problems in the story can get them interested in a book. Once they are interested, stop right there with a cliffhanger. Think of this as the literary version of a movie trailer.
If you live too far away from a library or don’t have the time to visit one, the Overdrive app is a valuable resource that can be downloaded to most tablets. Overdrive lets you download thousands of ebooks, audiobooks, and videos from your local library. All you need is your library card in order to create an account.
Reading to your child every day is a great way to integrate literacy into the home and share the experience as a family. Most children’s books are written above a child’s reading level and are intended for adults to read the books to them. But, don’t simply read to them. Ask your child questions about the characters and help them make connections with their own experiences and the world around them.
Look Around – Words are Everywhere
Literacy is everywhere. It’s not just in books. When cooking, let your child help read recipes and introduce them to new vocabulary words. Allow them to help you make a grocery list and read labels while in the store. Show them that reading is an important part of everyday life, and they will develop more of a joy for reading.
Digital Reading and Educational Gaming – A Summer ‘Cool Down’
In the digital age, gaming is everywhere now and I know the last thing most parents want is their child playing video games over the summer all day. But who would have thought that gaming could actually prevent the reading summer slide? There are websites out there that allow students to review reading while play games and actually learn something at the same time. Sites such as Kahoot, Review Game Zone and ABCmouse provide educational gaming to students. These site should not be used all day, but rather as a way to provide a nice break when students need to ‘cool down’ from being outdoors in the summer.
Do Not Let the Summer Slide Slow Down Your Child
The summer slide can start your child off on the wrong foot at the start of the school year. These tips will help ensure their academic success in the new year and help them become more confident in reading overall.