Summer is right around the corner, and with a year where most kids have spent their school day in front of a screen, a vacation is well-deserved. Most summers, though— especially this one—children are likely to cast aside anything to do with academics.
This loss of learning, known as Summer Slide, is a regression of knowledge students experience between school years. It’s the idea that learning slows and, once school starts up again, educators must dedicate precious time in their curriculum to playing catch up, re-teaching skills from the last school year. For parents determined to avoid the Summer Slide, there are a number of ways to keep kids in an academic mindset even as they take a break from an online or in-person classroom. To help you get started, Read to Them has compiled a number of tips:
- Set Reasonable Goals – You don’t have to spend eight hours a day to prevent summer learning loss. By dedicating 15-30 minutes in your child’s schedule to academic-based activities, you’re establishing positive habits and laying the foundations for educational success. According to Scholastic, just reading six books over the summer can keep a young reader from regressing – but don’t let that limit the number of stories you dive into.
- Read Daily – It’s been found that children can lose up to 25% of their reading skills over the summer months, greatly impacting the start of school come Fall. Encourage your young scholar to read at every opportunity they can: the newspaper over breakfast, magazines, graphic novels, even the side of a shampoo bottle. Anything that captures their attention is beneficial! Have your child discuss what they’re reading – if you wish, you could even turn these exchanges into a family book club.
- Read Aloud – Children of all ages can benefit from hearing books read aloud to them. For pre-readers, this can be a great way to focus on letter and sound recognition; for beginners, reading aloud can aid in learning proper pronunciation and practicing sight words. Scholars that are a little older might prefer to read aloud to you from their current book of choice before bed or at the dinner table. Strapped for time? You could put on an audio book during a long car ride to further build listening comprehension.
- Select Books Your Kids Like – Reluctant readers will further shun the idea of reading if they’re forced to read books that don’t interest them. Giving your scholar the freedom to pick books that bolster their interests is a surefire way to ensure they read more. If you’re looking for a place to start, take a look at our book lists for titles that correspond to your child’s age and reading level.
- Take Library Trips – Your public library is a wealth of both physical and digital resources. Libraries are free to use and are widely accessible if you have a library card. (And if you don’t, the process to get one is quick and easy.) When you take your visit, don’t be afraid to stop at the help desk – librarians are more than eager to aid in pairing your scholar with books they’ll enjoy while also being age-appropriate. Most libraries host summer reading programs, as well, so be sure to check those out, too!
The important thing to remember is this: summer learning doesn’t have to be removed from summer fun. Be sure to enjoy yourselves and the togetherness that comes from building a culture of literacy.