Ways to incorporate reading and fun activities throughout the summer.
What is summer learning loss?
During summer, many children spend less time reading and more time playing. While enjoying summer break is important, the few months off of school can lead to children losing important academic skills. Often referred to as the “summer learning loss” or the “summer slide”, children return from summer break with decreased reading skills. This setback is more likely to impact children from low-income families, whose reading achievement declines while middle-class students’ skills improve or stay the same. The extent of loss also increases for higher grade levels.
While academic skills in all areas are important, literary skills can impact success in all subjects. This means children should keep reading during the summer. However, reading doesn’t have to take away from summer break. Through fun activities, parents can incorporate reading into their child’s summer schedule.
Tips for summer reading and activities
Read a few books
Children don’t have to read many books over the summer to stay at reading level. Reading only six books can still help children be prepared for school. Encourage children to find books around their interests or favorite topics. That way, reading will be more enjoyable and fun. If you need help finding books, you can also visit your local library.
Take advantage of the library
Besides offering free books, libraries provide plenty of motivators for reading. Some have summer reading programs that offer children prizes if they complete them. Others have fun programs for families and kids to attend. These activities help the library become more fun for your children.
Look for daily reading opportunities
Children don’t have read a long time to reap benefits. For those with a busy schedule, look for opportunities to incorporate reading into everyday tasks. Children can read instructions while helping you cook, or they can read aloud directions when the family drives somewhere new.
Take books on the go
You can also encourage reading outside the house. Incorporate reading into fun activities, like outside at the park or while on vacation. Even keep books ready for events with a long wait time like doctor’s visits. Reading anywhere can encourage children to think of it as fun.
Keep writing materials available
You can also encourage your child to write. Make paper and writing supplies easily accessible for them. If they like to write stories, read their work and motivate them to keep going. You can also let your child write grocery or to-do lists.
Read aloud together
Children can benefit from reading aloud with their parents at any age. You can read slightly more advanced books to help build their listening comprehension skills. You can also discuss what you like and dislike.
Read books before watching the movie
If your child prefers watching movies, try finding a book that was turned into a movie. You both can read the book first and then compare it with the movie.
Find a pen pal
If your child has a friend that they don’t get to play with much over the summer, suggest that they become pen pals. Emailing or writing letters will help them stay in touch and motivate them to write.
Play rhyming games and songs
You can improve your child’s literacy skills by playing word games or singing songs. This builds both reading and listening skills while keeping it fun.
Students can risk losing important reading skills over the summer, but parents don’t need to worry. By reading a handful of books and engaging in fun activities, children can stay on track with reading while also enjoying their summer break.
For more literacy programs and resources, visit storytimevillage.org.