Avoiding ‘The Summer Slide’ through reading

On average, students lose two months of reading skills over their summer break. This is due to what is called, “The Summer Slide.” Students, parents, and teachers work hard all year to build students’ reading abilities. By spending as little as 20 minutes each day, you can turn the summer slide into a summer ladder toward reading growth! We want children spending their summer zooming down water slides, or playing hide and seek at Chutes and Ladders, not sliding backward in their reading ability. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to incorporate reading into your summer fun plans, to not only defeat the summer slide, but also keep children engaged and learning throughout the summer months.

In the Home: There are many activities that you may do or can easily add to help promote summer reading. Find, read, and follow a new recipe together. Spend time reading before bedtime every night; take turns being the reader and listener, and talk about what’s happening in the book. Share books that you enjoyed as a child, and talk about why you liked it so much when you were small. Swap books with a sibling or friend to expand your book selections. Take a walk, and write or draw about the things you see. On a rainy day, play word games like Scrabble or Boggle. Look for kid-friendly crossword puzzles to do together.

Community Resources: Many of our communities offer free reading opportunities for families.

With the Read to Ride Program (upkids.com), kids can earn chances to win a bike based on the number of books that they read. Public Libraries and schools often offer summer reading programs or summer book exchanges. There are also Little Free Libraries scattered throughout the Copper Country- find one in your area for an ongoing book swap option! Be sure to try something new, like nonfiction books or graphic novels!

Technology: As technology continues to become more embedded in our daily lives, it has become easier to find ways to provide children with interesting reading opportunities. Using a tablet or phone, you can listen to, or make your own, audio books! Find kid-friendly web comics (Saturday Morning Webtoons, DC Nation Kids, Marvel Kids). The Michigan eLibrary (mel.org) offers free books for kids. Find your favorite author’s website or YouTube channel. Many have fun activities to go along with books, and some even have recording of the author reading aloud! (robertmunsch.com andstorylineonline.net). The Arbordale Publishing site also offers an opportunity for kids to have access to ebooks (arbordalepublishing.com). If your child insists on video games, find some that require them to read text frequently.

In conclusion, it’s important to make an effort to include reading in your family’s summer schedule. It takes little time or effort, but the benefits are almost immeasurable. Be sure to save sliding for the playground – with just 20 minutes a day, you can stave off summer reading loss and help prepare your child for school in the fall, and a lifetime of reading fun!

George Stockero is superintendent for the Copper Country Intermediate School District.