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May 27, 2014

7 tips for making summer reading part of the summer fun

June is routinely seen as the end of the school year and August as the start of another. For children, summer vacation is a time for care-free fun, rid of any thought of school or study.

summer reading

However, considering summer as an educational pause can cause students to enter the next school year as much as three months behind where they left off in June.

Conclusive research from the past century has proven the existence of, what many educators refer to as, the “Summer Slide,” describing the unfortunate decline in a student’s abilities after a two-and-a-half month summer learning hiatus.

Engaging kids in fun summer learning activities motivates them to continue their growth in reading and learning throughout the summer. When summer reading becomes part of the fun, students build even more confidence in their abilities and become excited about returning to school.

7 tips for making reading part of the fun.

1. Take your child on regular trips to the library.

Taking a trip to the library is a fun reading centered activity that children love. Make regular visits to the library and let your child spend as much or as little time as they want picking out books to take home.

2. Make reading part of the summer routine.

Now, this can be a hard sell next to television, video games, and other distractions. If you’re having trouble, do what my mom did: thirty minutes of reading earned me one ticket, which I could then trade in for thirty minutes of “screen time.”

3. Lead by example.

Make reading a part of your own summer routine. One of the biggest factors that determines if a student will be a lifelong reader is seeing someone in their family set that example. Keep lots of reading material around the house and focus on reading at least one hour per day.

4. When reading, ask your child lots of questions.

Reading lots of different books aloud helps children build phonic skills and read fluently. But, talking about books, answering questions, and re-telling stories helps a child develop their ability to understand language.

5. Make a “summer fun journal.”

Combine your child’s favorite summer activities with writing prompts. Have your child pick out or craft a summer fun journal, and when you take them to their favorite restaurant, or on a trip to Grandma’s, they can write a short entry in their journal afterwords.

6. Prompt your child to use academic-concepts when talking about the things they love.

If your son or daughter is dying to tell you about the level s/he just beat in a video game, ask him/her to explain the level, and describe the main character, or ask him/her to retell the story of a movie or favorite show they just watched. Making sure they describe you the setting, problem, and solution.

7. Read everything, everywhere.

Have your child read billboards, signs, pamphlets. If you go on an trip to a theme park, have your child be responsible for the map and have them read the rules and names of rides.

The key to success with summer reading is to help make the reading part of the fun. Make the library a fun destination, turn the act of reading into a game, and combine literacy skills with the things your children already love. It’s possible to keep kids academically practiced while also letting them enjoy the lightness of their youth.

If you’re interested in learning more about the importance of summer reading and finding more skills and activities, head on over to our friends at grade-level reading (https://gradelevelreading.net/our-work/summer-learning-loss) and take the summer learning pledge.

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