Do you know about the “summer slide”? It’s what happens to your children’s reading skills over the summer if they’re not exploring books and building reading comprehension. With the help of parents and caregivers, though, the summer slide can be prevented and kids can start a new school year with reading confidence.
DEAR: Also known as “drop everything and read,” this is a time you reserve every day to create a reading routine. Put away the screens, help your kiddos find a quiet corner, and leave them for 15 or 20 minutes to read independently — make it a fun habit!
Continue school routines: Is there a school day reading routine that you followed during the school year? Keep them going during the summer. If there’s a series or theme followed, keep it up outside of school too. You can always email your kids’ teachers for recommendations.
Fuel their passion: Leverage what your kids love the most to find books that will appeal to what they’re currently obsessing over the most. Trains, cute baby animals, superheroes; the good news is that there are definitely books out there about everything.
Let them pick: If your child is already resistant to reading, just let them run free in the library or the bookstore to pick out whatever they want. Being autonomous in this decision might encourage them to read, so don’t wrinkle your nose if they make some out-of-the-box choices.
Expand format choice: Who says graphic novels don’t count as reading? (They do!) There are several series of graphic novels for a variety of different age groups, with great vocabulary words and storylines to keep them engaged and learning as they go.
Find opportunities to read: Driving around the streets, shopping at the grocery store, playing at the playground — look for fun ways to “trick” your kids into reading without a book in sight. This is great for young readers who are just starting to develop skills.
Celebrate the series: Here’s another strategy that involves a book series that your children like to read. Check out or buy all of the books in the series at one time and make it a big deal when your kids finish each one. You can even put up charts or create spreadsheets.
Visit the library: Don’t overlook the convenience and ease of visiting the library to find new ways to read. Many libraries of all sizes have summer reading programs, and if they don’t, librarians are the best resource for learning how to boost summer reading.
Track new releases: Once you know which books and genres your children are into, keep that information on your radar. Entice your little one to keep reading by getting your hands on the latest from their favorite author.
Talk about the books: Reading is more than just knowing the words on the page; young readers need to know what the book is about to truly develop reading comprehension skills. After they’re done reading, ask about the plot and details from the book.
Try a book swap: Get together with classmates, neighbors, your mom group, whoever — and have a book swap. This is a cost-efficient way for you and your kids to get exposure to new books and expand horizons.
Lead by example: Children do as they see and if you’re reading more, they’ll follow suit. Prioritize reading yourself and make a big show of it so your kids know what you’re up to, and keep up with your own summer reading.
Start a journal: Writing is just as important to building reading comprehension skills. Start a summer fun journal and give little ones writing prompts based on what they’re reading or doing, or if they’re on any fun vacations.
Put the alphabet everywhere: Try a wooden name sign, a customized wooden stool, or even a toy box inscribed with their name. Wooden stools can help in the kitchen, where little hands love to help. Learning letters doesn’t have to be a boring chore. Find ways to make it fun!
Ready to help prevent the summer reading slide? When it’s easy to learn letters from everyday objects all around them, kids quickly catch on and develop the foundation for learning throughout the rest of their lives. Explore our website for wooden puzzles, name stools, and other items that make unique children’s gifts customized just for them.