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June 20, 2016

10 fun ways to combat the summer slide

Summer is here! A time to relax, take vacations, and embark on adventures. However, amid all the summer fun, the next three months are also the time when most students lose some of the progress they have made in school — called the summer slide. Without daily access to books, teachers, and peers, children face the risk of regressing in their learning achievement.

According to the National Summer Learning Institute, “All young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer.” Due to unequal access to learning opportunities throughout the summer, low-income students can experience more than two months of reading achievement loss.

The good news is that there are plenty of enjoyable, time-tested ways to avoid learning loss. Here are 10 fun ways to combat the summer slide!

1. Set a summer reading goal

Once summer starts, talk with your child about how many books he/she wants to read before school begins again. Put that number somewhere they can see it everyday, and encourage them to make progress toward that goal, little by little, throughout the months.

2. Have friendly competitions amongst friends and family

There’s nothing like a little friendly competition to get some kids motivated! But in these competitions, no one loses. As long as reading is happening, everyone is a winner.

3. Incentivize good work

Whether it’s a trip to the ice cream shop or an extra 30 minutes of play time, offer incentives throughout the summer that will keep your child encouraged and excited about reading. The summer can feel long for young kids, so having smaller milestones they can work toward, and receiving praise when they are achieved, will help keep them engaged.

4. Let kids choose their own books

When children get to choose what they read, they will be far more interested in it than if it’s chosen for them. Did your kid recently see a great movie about bugs? Find a book that covers the same topic and suggest that as an option.

5. Take trips to the library

For a young child, taking a trip to the local library can be an exhilarating experience. With endless options, this is the perfect spot for kids to explore the subjects that interest them. Some libraries have summer reading programs that can help you and your kids stay on track for keeping up with summer learning.

6. Bring audiobooks for road trips

If you’re hitting the road this summer, be sure to bring along some audiobooks for the kids to listen to. You can typically find these at your local public library, allowing you to use them for your week-long trip and then return them. The voices on most recordings will get kids excited about whatever book it is, and they may even talk along with it!

7. Organize friend read-dates and play-dates

Reading doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. Invite one or more of your child’s friends to come over and encourage them to read together. Incorporating some reading time into scheduled play-dates will show kids that reading is a diverse activity that can be enjoyed in many ways.

8. Incorporate technology and apps.


No matter what age, kids love technology, whether they are playing games or doing activities on iPads or computers. There are plenty of free educational games and apps for all age ranges, and even children’s books that can be read electronically.

9. Make reading an adventure

Reading doesn’t always have to happen before bed or in the living room. Encourage your kids to get creative with their reading, and to make it an adventure. Climb a tree and find a safe reading spot, or bring books to the beach for a change in atmosphere.

10. Play games

Depending on their ages, you can create games that work on spelling and letter sounds, or more advanced skills like vocabulary review. And if you do it right, your kids don’t even have to know that the underlying motive of these games is educational. They’ll just know they’re having fun!

No matter what strategies you use, finding ways to incorporate learning opportunities throughout your summer will ensure your kids are in a much better academic position when back-to-school time rolls around.

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