“No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks!” may sound like a great summer, but that attitude can lead to difficulties when school begins again in the fall.
Summer slide refers to the lack of educational skills that occurs over summer vacation, and it’s a very real problem. In fact, studies show that kids who don’t practice any academic skills over summer break can lose up to three months of academic progress by the time school resumes. Children who struggle academically are at particular risk; if they left school behind their peers, backsliding over the summer months can put them even further behind.
The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to prevent summer slide. While some experts advise hosting summer school themed units at home during the summer, the solutions are actually much easier.
- Six books for success: Reading six books over the course of the summer is all it takes to maintain reading practice and prevent regression of reading skills. The only rule is that the books need to be on the child’s reading level—not too easy, and not too hard. Libraries often host summer reading programs that offer prizes and incentives for kids to read.
- Read every day: Reading must be practiced every day. Magazines, comic books, newspapers, schedules, recipes, and even cereal boxes all count toward daily reading practice.
- Read aloud to your child: Children’s listening vocabulary and reading ability do not merge until eighth grade, making the practice of reading aloud to your child one of the most important things you can do to help your child be successful.
Summers can be jam-packed with activities, events, opportunities, and distractions. But taking time to make reading important will help your child reap major rewards academically. Find ways to fit reading naturally in your day-to-day routine and above all, make reading fun.