The summer slide is a regression in reading ability or other academic areas because children are no longer in school. To quote tennis great Jimmy Connors, “Use it or lose it.”
While the summer slide phenomenon has been called into question in recent years by notable experts such as Professor Paul T. von Hippel of the University of Texas, keeping up with academics over the summer is certainly going to be beneficial to your child.
Here are 5 sure-fire ways to improve your child’s reading over the summer and to prevent the summer slide:
- Visit Your Local Library and Join a Reading Challenge
Kids love challenges. Secretly, parents love them, too. Challenges give parents and children a sense of accountability. The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten early literacy challenge does not have to end after 1000 books are read. Nor does it have to end when your child starts kindergarten. Visit your local library and see what reading challenges it has for your child. If your library does not have a summer reading challenge, find one on-line.
- Have your Child Keep a Journal
We love reinforcing a child’s reading AND writing skills at the same time. Have your child write three to five sentences on various topics throughout the summer. For example, what is your favorite TV show? Where do you want to visit? Make sure your child reads the daily topic and writes complete sentences.
- Keep the Reading Routine Going
Once your child reaches school age, it may seem convenient to drop the reading routine. Do not fall into this trap. Keep the reading routine going. Read along with your child. If you do not have access to the same book, see if your library is linked to the “Libby” app. Libby is great because you can download the same e-book across multiple devices. You can both open up the same e-book and you can read alongside your child. Keep it fun. For example, try alternating reading paragraphs with your child.
- Turn on Closed Captioning When Watching Television/YouTube
Turn on closed captioning when watching television/YouTube. One study has found that closed captions can benefit students reading ability by aiding in “comprehension, accuracy, engagement, and retention.”
- Let Your Child Choose the Reading Material
The same child that wanted to read Goodnight Moon, has probably already decided what she likes to read. So, let her choose the reading material. Of course, you can make suggestions, but if she wants to read the same chapter book over and over, by all means allow her to do so.
These are just a few ideas to improve your child’s reading over the summer and to prevent the summer slide. Remember to keep it fun and to keep reading. Use it or lose it!