The summer break presents students with opportunities for fun with family and friends, travel, and a change of pace from the academic year. Unfortunately, another thing summer break can bring is a DECREASE in reading ability (typical loss is at least 2 months’ worth of skills loss if a child doesn’t read books over the summer), and this makes it harder for students to be able to begin their new grade. Effectively, they are 2 or more months BEHIND where they were at the start of summer. The effect is even more pronounced in students who may struggle with reading in the first place, and students who are English Language Learners.
“Summer Slide” can be prevented by ensuring that your child is reading for enjoyment over the summer break. Reading at least 4 or 5 books over the break is optimal for preventing this loss of reading skills.
Ways to incorporate reading into your child’s summer plans:
- Take a trip to the library or bookstore at the start of the summer
- Always have a book for the beach/car/plane
- Encourage a reading routine for your child to follow each day, for example reading one chapter of a book each morning (or night)
- Ensure your child is choosing books and topics they find interesting; Reading for pleasure is the best way to become a life-long learner. When possible, let your child choose what they want to read – fiction, non-fiction
- Talk to your child about books; ask them about what they’re reading – low pressure questions such as “What you like best about the book you’re reading now?” are fine – no need to ‘quiz’ your child.
- Teachers, the school, and the school library all have suggestions, and we can make recommendations based on what each student personally likes to read
- Books lists for young adults are easily available online from Young Adult Library Services Association, Goodreads, and BookTrust for Teens.
- Free apps for Android and iPhone can help students get recommendations based on their preferences. Two suggestions: GoodReads App (available for Android at the Google Play store and for iPhones at iTunes) and YALSA’s Teen Book Finder App
For more information on “Summer Slide” and how you can prevent reading skills loss over the summer, this article by Julie M. Wood, Ed.D is very helpful.
Enjoy the summer – Enjoy a book!