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 rundown on what this summer slide business really means for our kids. When a 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’s 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 game 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 cannot 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! They give prizes 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 (at my local library 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 TumbleBook, an online library with digital stories!
Just so you know, you can sign up for a reading program 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 in preserving memories! Allow your kids to take pics on outings, teach them how to upload them onto your computer, and order pics together online. Let them to put the photos 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 each week. For 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!
Do 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 as 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 they shouldn’t be a break from reading.
Source: Dominican University IMLS-funded research: Public Library