The summer Slide
Why keep you child’s brain charged over the summer? Over the summer, your child’s brain is in danger of succumbing to what is called the “summer slide,” which means that there is a decline in their ability to read. Plenty of scientific studies have found that “students who don’t read or read infrequently during their summer vacation see their reading abilities stagnate or decline,” according to the blog of the U.S. Department of Education.
The U.S. Department of Education goes on to note that “this effect becomes more pronounced as kids get older and advance through the school system.” Reading is critical to your child being able to stay on grade reading level or to progress so that they become on grade level.
Here are some helpful resources to get your kid reading this summer:
1.) While you want to avoid your child staring at a screen too much in the summer, there are a number of very helpful websites and apps to help children learn how to read that you could make use of on a limited basis. One of them is Starfall. This website and app is great for kids K-2 and teaches phonics, nursery rhymes, and even math skills. Online games on the PBS website are also great for building reading skills in young children. For K-8, you might try Funbrain, which helps students improve math and reading skills. It offers books and comics, and interactive games. Light up Your Brain is another great site to help student develop reading and other academic skills. Check out the siteConnections Academy site for more helpful online resources to help your child learn to read.
2.) The library is the most fundamental resource you have at your fingertips to help your child to read. In addition to summer reading programs that offer incentive-based summer reading programs. Ask the children’s librarian to guide you or your child to a book or series that would pique their interest. They can also identify summer reading lists appropriate to your child’s age and reading level.
3.) Get an audiobook to accompany the book that your child reads. This can help to model fluency for your child and increase their interest in the book as they follow along. This may take some monitoring on your part to be sure that they are following along in the book, however. Still it is a great way to engage children’s interest in a particular story.
4.) You can also make reading a social event in the house. For example the Department of Education suggests that you can all read as a family for 30 minutes every day, or you can all pass around the same book and read aloud from it. Having everyone involved can increase engagement and interest in reading for your child.
5.) Books that are of personal interest to your child are another important resource in your campaign to get your child to read. Don’t force them to read books they’re not interested in over the summer. When they read something they are interested in, encourage them to tell you what they read, what questions they have about it. Then they can do a follow-up project on it later if they wish to learn more about the topic of the book.
L. Hughes-Page, M.Ed.
L. Hughes Page is a Field Supervisor to student teachers in the Graduate Department of Education at Gwynedd Mercy University.