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Avoid the "Summer Slide"

We’ve all heard the term “summer slide,” which is used to describe the loss of academic skills during the summer months. Just like exercising keeps muscles in shape, reading keeps the brain in shape. If you don't exercise regularly, you lose muscle, and if you don't read regularly, you lose literacy skills.

Now don't get me wrong, I am all for letting kids “be kids” during the summer – bring on the sidewalk chalk, dirty hands, endless outfit changes, late bedtimes, and unlimited popsicles, but it’s important to set an expectation for down time early on in the summer. Down time can look like reading quietly on the backyard hammock or curling up on the couch while you read a book to them; find something that works for you and your child. As a parent, you can help your children retain their academic gains by incorporating a few easy steps into your summer routine.

Make Reading Fun

Encourage your child to read books that interest them. Take them to the library and let them choose their own books. Look for books on topics they enjoy, whether it’s sports, animals, or science fiction. Don’t worry so much about reading level; you just want your kids to LOOK FORWARD to picking up a book.

Here’s a few websites that can be helpful when selecting books based on interest:

Set a Reading Goal

Set a reading goal for your child to achieve during the summer months. This can be a specific number of books or minutes spent reading each day. Keep track of their progress and celebrate each milestone they reach. Let your child choose their celebration, such as a visit the ice cream store or a trip to the waterpark.

Here’s a great website called "Littles Love Learning." The creator, Erin, offers a ton of Summer Reading Logs that you can download and print for free.

Also, check Erin's blog out on Instagram at @littleslovelearningblog

Read Together

Reading with your child is a great way to bond and model good reading habits. Take turns reading aloud to each other or read the same book and discuss it together.

Make Reading a Daily Habit

Encourage your child to read for at least 15-20 minutes every day. Make it a part of their daily routine, such as reading before bed, during down time, or at breakfast. Summer is busy and full of fun but try your best to keep some consistency. You will eventually hear less complaints and children will actually look forward to some quiet book time.

Join a Summer Reading Program

Many libraries and bookstores offer summer reading programs for children. These programs often include reading challenges, book clubs, and fun events. Check out your local library’s social media to see what they have planned for the summer!

The American Library Association rounded up some of the most successful summer reading programs across the country. Check it out here:

Carry a Book Around

Whether you’re waiting for the next baseball game to start, or you are stuck in the car for a family road trip, make sure you have a couple book options for your child. If your kids are anything like mine, there is NO reading in the car because of carsickness, but we listen to audiobooks whenever we are in the car for a long period of time.

Incorporating some of these fun activities can help make summer reading seem less like a punishment and more like a fun challenge or competition. Remember, start early and be consistent!


Believe in the magic of reading.


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