The summer slide is a real thing. Not this slide –
But this one –
Two months of reading skills are lost over the summer. Teachers spend on average six weeks making up for the summer slide at the start of the school year. Even if some kids read relentlessly over the summer, there will still be many who do not. Teachers will still have to reteach those lost skills to everyone as a result. It would be so much more productive for everyone if we could all move forward on the first day of school instead of going “back to the future.”
In this digital age, children are reading less independently. Parents are reading less to their children. Both favor their personal “screens” over reading together or on their own. Many favor listening rather than reading. The earbud has almost become a permanent appendage. And the summer slide continues.
Research has shown that reading for leisure (or pleasure) is not negatively affected by reading on a screen or listening to a book as audio. However, reading for information or to learn something is negatively impacted by reading on a screen or listening to a book as audio. If you listen to an audiobook while driving a car, you can relate. If you really need to pay attention closely to the reading, your brain doesn’t handle that multi-tasking well while driving. More about this correlation here.
Whether your child is a reluctant reader or a voracious reader, they are in danger of the summer slide. Let’s help them climb a jungle gym instead this summer!
- All it takes is 15 minutes a day! Set aside some quiet time every day this summer for kids to read independently (either silently or aloud to you) for 15 minutes (20 is even better). It’s like a daily vitamin for reading and will ward off the dreaded summer slide.
- Read TO your child. Choose a book above their reading level that is long enough to read over the summer. Read aloud to them snuggled together on the couch or bed. Model for kids how to read with appropriate rate and expression. Maybe read The Lord of the Rings or The Giver or Alice in Wonderland. Just 15 minutes every night.
- Go to the Library! Physically leave your house and go to your public library. There are actually still books there! Make getting their own library card a privilege. Make it special. Hang out there for story times or book clubs. You may rediscover the reading bug yourself there!
- Create a GoodReads page. On GoodReads.com you can create a Family Summer Reading List. Each of you can post the books you read and rate them. You can also participate in the 2019 Reading Challenge on GoodReads.
Let’s combat the summer reading slide! Employ one of these ideas this summer and your child will not be behind. Employ them all, and they will soar!