Summer is a great opportunity to get a tan, spend the entire day with your friends, and to fall into a reading slump. This tends to happen with young students and teens. They have summer reading but instead of making sure the two or three books are finished, the books get pushed aside for basketball and swimming. This is not to say that kids and teens should not be getting exercise, but their brains need to be exercised too.
Many kids tend to fall into the summer slide, especially struggling readers. They fall out of the habit of reading and when school rolls around they immediately struggle with schoolwork. In order to avoid the summer slide, there are ways to prevent your kid from joining the struggle bus on the first day of school.
Scholastic’s website includes three examples of how to avoid the summer slide. While these examples are incredibly helpful, they might be asking a little too much for children.
Their first tip is to have kids read six books over the summer. There are some students that don’t have six assigned books over the school year. This might prove to be difficult for some kids and teens, especially those set with summer activities and sporting events. Instead of six books, cut it in half and suggest three books of different genres to stimulate the child or teen. Three books is a more achievable goal for struggling readers and gives them the opportunity to explore different genres. Suggest a murder mystery to keep them on their toes, a historical fiction selection to give background to different eras, and a YA lit novel to make the book relatable.
Scholastic’s second suggestion is to have the child or teen read something every day. It doesn’t specifically have to be a book, but this could be a news article or magazine. It keeps the idea of reading alive and allows them another opportunity to set the pace while they read. This tip also allows them to choose what they’re reading and go the appropriate speed for their comprehension level.
The third suggestion is more for younger kids and that is to continue reading aloud. Whatever the text might be, article, magazine, or novel, Scholastic suggests reading aloud can benefit those that struggle. While this may be true, I don’t think this tip is overly necessary to keep kids from the summer slide. But, by reading the text aloud, it will also improve listening comprehension skills and possibly expand their vocabulary.
In my honest opinion, a child or teen falling into the summer slide is inevitable. As kids grow, they want to spend more time with their friends and having fun instead of reading books. Those that are struggling readers are more guilty of this than individuals that find reading enjoyable. But, for teens, they need to keep in mind that SAT is right around the corner and comprehension is a large portion of the test.
Parents shouldn’t use scare tactics to get their children to read, but encouraging them to read instead of making it homework will be more beneficial for the parent and the child. By encouraging the child or teen to read, it will lead to better test scores in school and give them a broader sense of the entire world.
By following these tips and tweaking them to your child’s specific needs, you can help prevent the summer slide and allow your child or teen to stay sharp through the summer and be better prepared for the next school year.
Referenced source: http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/developing-reading-skills/three-ways-to-prevent-summer-slide
-Guest post by Ashley Guarino, student at Washington State University
Special thanks to Ashley for all of her contributions to the StorySnoops website – we appreciate you!
For suggested summer reading, check out these links: