As summer approaches, I know my kids are ready for a break. They want to sleep in, stay up late, go swimming and hang out with friends all day. I don’t blame them, I want to do the same thing! But parents, here’s the run down on what this summer slide business really means for your kids. When your child doesn’t practice their reading skills over summer break, they tend to lose some of those skills and strategies they learned over the school year. Out of sight, out of mind… that is how I see the summer slide.
According to the Dominican University’s research on summer reading opportunities, the amount of time children are given to read outside of school is linked to gains in their reading success.
So this summer, encourage your kids to turn off that TV or video console for a little bit each day and devote some quality time to reading. Read together! Here are a few tips that have worked for my kids over our summer breaks:
Create a space for reading
I can not express how important it is to create a space for reading. Make that space inviting and interactive for your children! I change ours up every year. We enjoy reading both indoors and out! Add a variety of books, pillows and some stuffed animals for the little ones. This year I added a whiteboard with a dry erase marker because my preschooler likes to draw after she reads a book.
Join the summer reading program at your local library
These are free to join! Prizes are given out for reading and it’s just so much fun! Kids take ownership over their reading logs and of the book selections they want to read this summer. If your library participates in the Beanstack program, your child will get recommended book lists each week from the library, sent directly to your email! I personally love this feature my local library offers in Mesquite. Be sure to check out the reading resources that are available online through your local library. My public library offers a subscription to TumbleBooks. This is an online library with digital stories!
Just so you know, you can sign up at any nearby library, whether you live in that particular area or not. I’ve signed my children up with the reading programs offered at Dallas and Mesquite libraries over the past summers. I feel that when you do that, you’ll discover the book selections and the variety in each library are quite unique.
National research from the Dominican University found that children who participated in their public library’s summer reading programs scored higher on reading achievement exams at the beginning of the next school year than those who did not participate in any type of summer reading program.
Make a summer scrapbook
This is a great way to get your children involved with preserving memories! Allow your kids to take pics on outings, teach them how to upload them onto your computer and together order pics online. Let them to put the photos together in an album and label each memory.
This is my absolute favorite, aside from the reading programs! I personally love to see the growth my children make over the years with their summer journals. I encourage my children to journal at the end of the week. With my older children, I ask them to take some time to reflect over the past week and write down their thoughts. For my preschooler, we talk about her favorite activity during the week and she draws a picture in her journal with her inventive writing. Summer journaling is also fun for those long road trips.
When you can, make it a plan! Have your child find a recipe they want to try out! You both can make a list of the items you need to shop for and buy. When you’re at the grocery store, compare prices! When you’re ready, follow the recipe, improvise if you need to and cook together. This is a fun activity for all my kids, including my teenagers!
Science experiments at home
I bet you’d be surprised to find out how many things you have at home already to create a fun science experiment! Take photos for your scrapbook and journal the experiment! Be creative as possible.
The idea here is to keep your children learning throughout the summer. Summers are for making memories. Summers are a break from school, but it shouldn’t be a break from reading.
Avoid the slip down the slide that widens the reading gap by promoting reading this summer.
Source: Dominican University IMLS-funded research: Public Library