4 Simple & Fun Tips to Prevent the Summer Slide
Does your child stop reading once summer arrives? If so, they could be susceptible to the dreaded ‘summer slide.’ Fortunately, there are simple and easy ways to stop summer slide in its tracks. Best of all, many of these activities are fun and serve as a great bonding experience between child and parent.
I’m Arizona school assembly performer Graham Rogers. For the last 30+ years, I’ve presented educationally significant school assemblies to schools in AZ, across the United States, and even internationally., Each month, I write articles to help busy educators and parents with their most pressing concerns.
What is the Summer Slide?
The ‘summer slide’ is the phenomenon where a child backslides academically. Although children in lower-income communities are at higher risk, the summer slide can affect kids from all backgrounds.
The largest cause of the summer slide is simple. Many kids do not read or engage in any educationally stimulating activities over the summer months. The resulting backslide in academic achievement is similar to muscle atrophy. If you work out and build up your muscles, taking time off from your exercises can cause you to lose whatever gains you made fairly quickly.
Key Benefits to Summer Reading
Here’s the good news. Preventing summer slide in elementary school-age children is not difficult. And the easiest, best way is through summer reading. Just by reading for around 20 minutes a day, your child can head off the summer slide.
What if your child does not read on their own as a habit? This might seem to be a significant stumbling block. The key is to make reading fun. If your child does not enjoy poetry, trying to get them to read a book of poems over the summer months is going to be an uphill battle. Fortunately, there are simple ways to stimulate reading in children.
Summer Slide Prevention Method #1: Your Library’s Summer Reading Program
Every summer, libraries pull out all the stops to get kids and parents into the library. Since school is out, libraries know their core audience is available for more visits than during any other time of the year. Libraries host a wide variety of fun activities tied to their summer reading program.
From live shows to contests, you name it – librarians do everything they can to get kids into the library. And the best part? It’s all free!
Summer Slide Prevention Method #2: Find Topics Your Child Enjoys
When people say they don’t enjoy reading, it’s often because they have no interest in what they are reading. In school, many kids don’t like the required reading choices. But during the summer, there are no limits.
If your child likes sports, try finding sports-related books on their reading level. There are plenty of fictional sports stories. Or your child may enjoy biographies of certain athletes interesting. Does your child like dinosaurs? There are unlimited choices of dinosaur-related books to read.
The key benefit of reading over the summer is the reading itself. The goal should be to keep kids reading.
Summer Slide Prevention Method #3: Neighborhood Contests
Are you active in your community? You can get together with the other parents and put together a fun reading competition for your children. Separate kids of the same ages into groups. Set certain reading benchmarks to hit to win specific prizes.
Start your summer off with a big reading kickoff party. Have smaller ‘check in’ events every couple of weeks. And plan a big end-of-summer reading blowoff party. That’s where you tally up the words read and present the prizes to the high-achievers.
Summer Slide Prevention Method #4: Get the Entire Family Involved
Children model the behavior of the trusted adults around them, especially their parents. And if you’re not reading on your own, your child may be less likely to read. The number of grownups who never pick up a book again after graduating is both stunning and disheartening.
If you want your child to read more, try reading more yourself. Taking weekly or twice monthly visits to your local library is a fun bonding experience for the entire family. When you return home, have a family get-together and talk about what each family member chose and why.
A word of caution here. If your child selects books on subjects you don’t like, don’t show disdain for their choices. If your child chooses a book about insects and you find bugs icky or gross, don’t tell your child. Similarly, if one of your children enjoys reading romance novels, don’t allow their siblings to pick on them.
And once again, the library is free!
How to Stimulate Reading in Your Child’s School
Before you know it, summer will be over. But the reading fun doesn’t have to stop. My Superhero Reading Show is a fun school assembly designed to get kids excited about reading. Loaded with magic, join-in fun, music, and age-appropriate humor, children of all ages will love the Superhero Reading Show! Contact me today for more information.