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10 Ways To Get Kids Reading Over The Summer & Prevent Summer Reading Loss


Are you taking steps to help your child avoid the summer slide? If not, don’t worry—according to Scholastic’s reading report, only 1 in 3 parents have heard of, read about, or received advice about the summer slide.

What is the summer slide?

The summer break can lead to children losing or forgetting months worth of the skills they learned during the school year. To avoid the summer slide, it’s important to keep the learning process going throughout the summer so your child doesn’t fall behind.

There’s no overstating the importance of reading over the summer. While all areas of learning can be affected by the summer slide, reading and comprehension skills are the foundation of success in every subject. And for children who don’t put aside time for summer reading, the reading skills learned throughout the school year are quickly lost.

Making sure your child goes back to school at the same reading level he or she ended the school year at requires a bit of extra support from parents over the summer.

Find out more about preventing summer reading loss and activities you can plan to encourage your child to get reading this summer break.

Why Is It So Important For Kids To Read Over The Summer?

Reading is one of the best predictors of a child’s comprehension level, vocabulary range, and reading speed. The more reading a student does (whether it’s over the summer or during the school year), the more opportunity he or she has to build and strengthen these skills.

So, what happens when students don’t put in enough reading time over the summer break? Children without a summer reading routine can lose one to three months of the reading skills they spent the previous school year building. This loss is a long-term, cumulative loss—once students lose reading ability over the summer, they rarely catch back up. By the end of Grade 5, this can add up to over 3 years of lost reading skills, leaving students struggling to perform well in the classroom.

1-3 months of reading skills can be lost by children over the summer

Actively engaging in summer reading reduces the risk of summer learning loss. It also helps kids develop better reading habits. As students develop better habits, they learn to be more excited about reading. They start seeing it as a fun activity rather than just another school assignment. Once reading turns into a fun summer activity, your child will be building reading, comprehension, and vocabulary skills without even knowing it.

3 years of reading skills can be lost by students by the end of 5th grade

The Benefits Of Summer Reading

Continuing to read over the summer months gives students a chance to engage their minds and improve their skills. In fact, children who read more than four books over the summer perform better on comprehension tests than students who read one or no books.

Kids who read 4+ books in the summer do better on comprehension tests than kids who read 1 or no books

Reading books over the summer also helps prepare students for the upcoming school year. By making sure their minds are engaged even after the school year has ended, students are giving their brain the workout it needs to stay in shape. When it’s time to head back into the classroom in September, avid summer readers will have the skills they need to come prepared to learn.

96% of parents agree that reading a book over the summer helps kids during the school year

How To Get Kids To Read Over The Summer

With endless summer activities calling, it can be a challenge for many parents to get their child to pick up a book and practice his or her reading skills. By incorporating reading activities into each day of summer vacation, you can encourage your child to read more—and have fun doing it.

34% of parents say they have to work at encouraging their child to read over the summer

Getting your child to read doesn’t have to be impossible. Try these 10 ways to encourage your child to read over the summer.

  1. Find a topic your child enjoys

  2. Summer is the perfect time for your child to read something he or she enjoys, which makes reading less of a chore and more of a fun activity. Help your child find books that are related to an interest he or she has—whether it’s sports, animals, mystery, or something else.

  3. Incorporate reading into everyday activities

  4. Reading is all around us, and daily routines provide great reading opportunities. When you’re in the kitchen cooking, have your child read the recipe while you work. Plan a day trip and ask your child to read you the directions. Take advantage of the opportunities that pop up during your child’s day, no matter how small.

  5. Listen to audiobooks

  6. For children who are auditory learners, audiobooks are an excellent alternative to reading and can help them improve their comprehension skills. If your child prefers audiobooks, still encourage him or her to sit down with a book (even a short one) at least a couple times a week.

  7. Get a library card

  8. Take a trip to the local library and sign your child up for a library card. Libraries have a huge selection of books that your child can browse to find one that he or she likes. And as an added bonus, your child can keep coming back for a new book as many times as he or she wants.

  9. Plan a trip to the bookstore

  10. Visit a bookstore with your child and let him or her pick out a book as a special treat. Letting your child choose a book he or she wants will get him or her excited to get home and start reading his or her new book.

  11. Read aloud

  12. Make time to sit with your child to read aloud together. Each day, take a few minutes to read part of a book, or find a story in the newspaper to read together. For older students, let them read on their own and ask them tell you about their favourite part or what has happened in the book.

  13. Start a book club

  14. Once you know what kinds of books your child is interested in, help him or her create a reading list. Set aside a regular time to sit down together (like once a week) to talk about what is happening in the book. Ask things like what your child thinks will happen next and his or her favourite parts.

  15. Read books before you watch the movie

  16. Find a book that has been made into a movie your child would be interested in watching, and read the book first. After your child has read the book, watch the movie and talk about how they are different, what your child liked, and what he or she didn’t like.

  17. Start a new book series

  18. Help your child find a book series he or she will enjoy. Having multiple books that continue a story is a great way to keep your child interested in reading over the summer. You also won’t have to worry about what to read next. Once your child becomes involved with the story and characters, he or she will be excited to read the next book in the series.

  19. Read graphic novels or comics

  20. If your child is more of a visual student, try reading graphic novels or comics. These are much more visual, but still provide a good reading opportunity for children. Comics are a great way to make reading fun for children, so they’ll be building their reading skills without even knowing it.

Summer reading loss graphic

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Make Sure Your Child Avoids the Summer Slide

Looking for more information on the summer slide? Learn more about summer learning loss and more tips to help prevent it!

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