Have you heard of the dreaded “summer slide?”
A study conducted by the RAND corporation found that elementary students’ crucial academic skills fall behind about a month during the summer, but it’s even farther in lower-income families.
Unfortunately, it also appears that “summer learning loss is cumulative” with kids, and can become a huge gap over time.
As parents, we intuitively know that without practice our children’s skills will get a little rusty. This happens with all things.
But fortunately, there are many ways that we can prevent this slide in our own kids, and make sure that they are ready for fantastic growth when the school year comes around.
FIRST, GET INVOLVED
For starters, learning experiences such as camps, playgroups, and hobbies get them thinking and trying new things.
SECOND, GET READING
Additionally, the most essential ways to keep those academic skills fresh is to get our kids reading books on a regular basis. So, be sure to encourage reading the next few months! Have them reading MORE, not less this summer!
Try out one of these simple ideas below to keep those reading and critical thinking skills active!
Get The Kids Reading to Beat the Summer Slide
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Read To Them Regularly
As they say, kids are made readers on the laps of their parents. If we don’t show an interest in their books, neither will they! We have struggled with this from time to time in our own home, and find that it works best if we can pick out books that we (as parents) enjoy ourselves.
The Tickle Monster and Piggie and Gerald Books are great examples of this! We are ALL entertained by these books! As your kids get older, this can look like reading chapter books and more in depth series together!
Give Them Autonomy
Have kids pick out their own books at the library based off of interest. Kids are more likely to read when it’s something they are fascinated about.
So, have regular library trips where they make their own decisions, and can ask the librarian where specific books are. Then load up on those dinosaur books or the Magic Tree House series so they don’t run out of reading material anytime soon.
Also, if the kids just aren’t showing interest, let them read occasionally from the ipad or computer. I’ve never met a kid that didn’t love a screen, and it’s still an awesome way to get kids reading and keeping their skills up. They’ll love the extra choice!
Be A Reader Yourself
Ok, this could just be my excuse to read more myself! But truly if you want your kids to become readers, they should see you doing it too.
As parents, we model everything (good and bad). Tell them about the books you’re reading and why you chose them. Let them in on the fun of reading.
Use Resources To Make It Fun
There are SO MANY resources already available to promote reading. The library usually has summer classes and a reading program that gets kids to write books down.
Have A Dedicated Reading Time
Set aside a specific daily time when the kids read or you read to them. In our house, the kids read as part of their learning time checklist activity, but also have book time before bed.
Since summertime schedules are turning this upside down, I’m thinking about making afternoon rest time a dedicated time for books, and I’ll give them the option to read in a reading nook for 20 minutes.
Put Together A Reading Nook
Oh that special spot. I always dreamed of this as a kid! Set up a dedicated comfy space for the kids to have their reading time. Make it AWESOME.
Maybe they have some cool Batman pillows, or a big fluffy blanket or bean bag. This spot is just for reading, and man is it cool.
Start a Book Club
Try a family or friends book club. Pick a book that everyone reads and discuss it at the end of the week. Break out some snacks and get the conversation going! What characters are their favorites? How did they like it and why? What did they think of the ending? Would they change it?
This is such a stellar way to get kids internalizing what they’re reading!
Make It An Adventure
Adventures are what summer is all about, so why can’t they include books! Have a special reading picnic! While the kids will think this is crazy cool, all you really have to do is let them pick out a few books to read while you all eat lunch.
Or make it a reading slumber party in the living room, where they get to stay up late and read with flashlights.
A reading adventure can be made out of any summertime activity! Maybe s’mores are on your summer bucket list or your family night plans? Include a reading campout to go with it! Do you have plans to go to the drive-in movie? Take some books to read in the car while you wait!
There are so many opportunities that we never think of for beating the reading slide. Try keeping a few books in the car just for these times!
Use Summer Travel Time To Get Them Hooked
Finally, we tend to travel more during these months, so use it! If you are planning on traveling anywhere this summer, listen to the beginning of a book in the car with the kids. They’ll be hooked and want to read the rest themselves or with you!
Before You Go
Finally, I’m on the hunt to find a great reading nook spot this summer, and will be trying to incorporate more adventures into the mix!
How will you be getting your kids reading to beat the summer reading slide?
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- Statistics from The RAND Corporation website