The Summer Slide. It sounds like an exciting amusement park ride. But really, it’s a scary ride that no parent should ever want their child to experience. The Summer Slide refers to the educational loss, particularly in reading, that students experience during the summer months.
According to the Reading is Fundamental website, kids who read during the summer gain reading skills while those who do not slide backward for a loss of approximately two months, or 22% of the school year. The loss is more prominent among students of low socio-economic status. It is also cumulative, contributing to a greater achievement gap between students from middle and low socio-economic backgrounds.
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading lists summer learning loss as one of three major obstacles to students reading proficiently at the end of third grade. In addition, the Annie E. Casey Foundation states that one in six kids not reading proficiently in 3rd grade do not graduate from high school on time. This is a rate nearly four times higher than proficient readers.
How can we counter this? Research shows that reading just six books during the summer may keep a struggling reader from regressing. As parents and educators we need to find ways to make reading interesting for our kids. Here are some suggestions (from Reading is Fundamental) on how to encourage summer reading:
- Combine activities with books: If you are planning a trip to a park or the beach, have your child read a book about a park or beach. If your child wants to see a movie, agree to take him/her if he/she reads the book first. If you are on your way to a ballgame have your child read a book about his/her favorite player.
- Visit the library: make time to take trips to the library to explore different types of books and reading materials
- Lead by example: let your child see you reading and share how much you enjoy it
- Talk it up: ask your child about what he/she is reading. Let him/her share the story with you. Share with him/her why you liked a book
- Help find time: with busy schedules, help your child find time to read. Build time into your schedules. Breakfast and bedtime might be good possibilities
- Use books to break boredom: how many times have you heard “I’m bored” during the summer. Reading can provide an exciting break to boredom through stories and imagination
- Read aloud with kids: reading aloud lets the whole family, not just your school-aged children enjoy a book. Not to mention it’s a great family activity
Help your child stay off the Summer Slide and build a love for reading and learning by trying a couple of the suggestions above. It will help your help come back to school in the fall ready to learn, and who knows, it might even instill a love of reading.