What is the Summer Slide?
The “summer slide” is a reading skills learning loss from children not maintaining their reading activities over summer. The average student falls behind one month’s worth of reading skills during the summer. As well as children in low income households losing double that. This is according to a Brookings Institute article written by David M. Quinn and Morgan Polikoff. As children grow older, they lose progressively higher proportions of school year gains due to the summer slide. Two thirds of the 9th grade achievement gap between low and high income households is ascribed to the summer slide.
This academic regression is mainly due to children simply not reading books over the summer. 14% of kids ages 9-11, and 32% of kids ages 15-17 did not read one book during summer 2018. The recent “Kids and Family Reading Report” conducted by Scholastic, contains these troubling statistics. These percentages have been growing exponentially over recent years. If they continue along this trajectory, it could mean a troubling future for global literacy rates.
Preventing the Summer Slide
Get kids reading! Reading only 4-6 books over the summer can completely prevent students from losing any reading skills over their school holiday. Giving children access to books that interest them is the most important way to overcome summer slide.
Public libraries are an incredible free resource to use all year round. Especially when the school’s have all locked their doors. Take your kids on an adventure to join some library reading and Storytime programs. Talk to a librarian to help find books based on your child’s interest! Most librarians LOVE to find the book that will get someone hooked on reading.
Introducing your child to a variety of different text materials can help keep your child’s attention focused on reading. Magazines, picture books, chapter books, and audiobooks are all great sources of literature for your child to explore. Cooking with your child and reading recipe books is a great way to continue reading through the summer!
Make yourself at home with books! Reading silently to yourself at home in the presence of your child can help build their reading habits as well. Children tend to mimic adult behaviour, and are likely to read if you do!
Maintain Reading Skills
Although keeping the kids themselves reading is one of the best strategies for maintaining those skills, there are other activities that will still make a big difference. Reading aloud is one of the most effective tools for helping struggling readers, Audiobooks are also a great resource for when you’re in the car, or can’t be there to read to your child yourself. Reading books that are above your child’s own reading level will hold their attention, and challenge them to build more advanced reading comprehension skills and vocabulary. While you’re reading, engage in meaningful conversation with your child to keep them engaged, and to give them the chance to practice their comprehension skills. These skills gained will greatly benefit your reader when they go to read on their own.
Kids’ interests can change in the blink of an eye– when a new hobby or obsession takes hold, encourage your child to conduct research on the chosen topic and do a cool project together. It’s a fun way to keep your child reading, researching, and thinking critically.
Encourage your child to keep a summer journal, keeping a record of events and feelings on a daily or weekly basis. It’s a great way to promote reflection and will give your child practice at explaining their feelings, and using descriptive vocabulary.
Finally, one of the best motivators to keep kids reading over the summer is playing reading games. Games like Dreamscape are hyper engaging educational online platforms that kids actually want to play. These games can replace other non-educational screen time activities, and keep your child reading all summer long!
If you want more ideas on how you can help children overcome the summer slide, open a channel of communication with your child’s educators. Teachers often have great tips and resources to stimulate summer reading, and will know which strategies work best in keeping your child motivated to learn.
Follow the link below to get your kids signed up for FREE for Dreamscape– the best reading game to keep kids from experiencing learning loss this summer.