Summer Reading: What You Must Know
I can’t believe it’s the end of the school year! That means that summer is upon us and the potential for the “summer slide” is very real.
What is the “summer slide?” It’s the tendency for kids to lose some of the academic gains they’ve made over the school year. Did you know that some children can lose as much as 2 months worth of reading skills over the summer? And that loss is cumulative? That means that these learning losses build up summer after summer, so they fall farther and farther behind each year.
The good news … reading over the summer can stop the summer slide in its tracks.
Make Summer Reading FUN for Maximum Benefit
Reading experts agree that kids who think reading is fun get the most out of it. That means summer reading has to include more than just books. Reading and writing activities & games, story times with friends & family, and reading clubs & challenges are all ways to keep kids engaged.
Here are some key points to keep in mind when helping your kids, or other kids in your life, plan their summer reading strategies.
- Access to books is critical to avoid the summer slide – look at the books you currently have at home and make sure they’re still interesting to your kids and they’re at the right reading level. In most communities, kids can get their own library cards, so they can check out books, too.
- Reading research shows that when kids get to select what they read themselves, and want to read for enjoyment, they get the most benefit. This means they’ll increase their reading skills, including better comprehension, vocabulary and grammatical development, more than if someone else picks the material they read.
- Kids read more when the adults in their lives encourage them to read, and when they see those adults reading as well.
- Kids who think reading is FUN tend to read more, so make your summer reading choices with this in mind. Play games, incorporate activities and read anything and everything you can, even if it’s funny memes on the internet. You can find resources for online reading games with your kids’ favorite characters at PBS Kids. Or try Education World for links to games for all ages. Scholastic offers a variety of resources from activities & printables to book recommendations and games. Be creative and you’ll find tons of ways to make reading fun.
- Summer reading programs that incorporate both choice and a social aspect help make things fun. See if your public library has a summer reading program, and/or take a peek at the Barnes & Noble or Scholastic summer reading programs. Most provide concrete ways to encourage kids to read and keep track of their reading, and they often get a free book if they complete the reading log or journal.
- It doesn’t take much to keep kids on track! Reading just 4-6 books over the summer can help prevent a decline in reading skills.
Set a Summer Reading Goal & Get a Freebie
Setting a summer reading goal can be a great way to motivate kids to keep reading. And if that goal also has smaller objectives to reach along the way, as well as a reward for completing it, they will be more likely to follow it through to completion. With approximately 10 weeks to fill until school starts again, this is the perfect time to read, read, read!
I just did some goal setting with the 2nd graders I read with as a volunteer Reading Coach, and the kids really enjoyed coming up with a tangible goal, talking about what it would take to reach it and thinking of a way to celebrate once they achieve it. As struggling readers, it was so encouraging to see how enthusiastic they were about setting a summer reading goal and how easy it was for them to articulate it. True, they needed a little help thinking about what would be realistic and achievable, but beyond that, they did it themselves.
I’m going to do this with my kids, too, and hopefully they’ll all be happy to keep up with their summer reading!
If you want to do this with your children, I put together a simple Summer Reading printable to make it easy for you. Just sign up by filling out the simple form below, and you’ll have FREE access to this colorable goal sheet that will make your kid a Summer Reading Star.
For me, summer reading conjures up images of lazy days at the beach or being curled up on the porch swing with a book and a nice breeze blowing through my hair. Yes, those images are largely part of a fantasy world I often visit, but I credit this beautiful vision to all the books I’ve read in my life that nurtured my imagination. Come on! Join me on my imaginary beach as I read the summer away!
I hope this information and the FREEBIE will encourage you and your kids to keep reading all summer. What other tips do you have to encourage summer reading?