When children aren’t in school, like during summer vacation, there’s often something that happens called “the summer slide,” or loss of skills, particularly in reading. As parents and teachers, it’s our job to prevent this as much as possible. There’s a possibility that some schools will not be back in session until the next school year. That’s six months of no real classroom time! So, let’s try to prevent the “learning slide” or “isolation slide” when it comes to reading by following these tips for making reading important, every day.
1. Read when your kids read
It’s difficult for kids to hear us tell them that reading is important, if they don’t see us making reading important. So, spend silent reading time reading your own book. Sit where your child can see you reading at the same time that they do. If you are in it together, you might see less reluctance!
2. Hold book talks
After reading, a great way to ensure that a child is grasping what they read is to have them discuss it with you. These can be simple discussions such as discussing basic story elements – characters, settings, problems, solutions, etc. Or, these discussions can be more complicated and can include connections, feelings, and how your child might handle the same situations. Here are a couple of easy-to-use resources for you:
3. Conduct a family readers’ theater
Holding a readers’ theater is a great way to get the whole family involved. Each person takes a character and reads that character’s part. We have a huge variety of these books, available for download, free on our website. Most of these books have the reading level listed on the back to help you make the selection. Download as many as you would like by finding some of our free resources for a Readers’ Theater.
4. Encourage journaling
Have your child keep a journal of what they have read. Have them date each entry, the amount of time they have read, and the title of the book that they read. It’s also a great practice to have them note which books they liked or did not enjoy, and why. You may also ask older children to write a paragraph about what they have read.
This journal will be a great thing to show your child’s teacher when they return to school, whether that happens this school year or next school year. Continue this practice until school is back in session, even if that is months from now.
5. Have a variety of reading materials around
Children can practice reading in a variety of ways. Books are just a starting point. There are also things that you have around your house that your children can read. Recipes, menus, magazines, and similar items are great for students to notice that written words are all around them and that reading is an important skill used in everyday life.
The bottom line on preventing a reading slide during this time
You can help your child stay on top of their reading and prevent or help the “isolation and/or summer slide” for all subjects. Reading is the number one skill that crosses over all subject areas, so keeping that skill up and building on it is the key to success in school.
By Angela French
Angela French is the Senior Product Development and Content Manager at Really Good Stuff. She has worked for the company for nearly seven years and has created hundreds of resources for the classroom. She has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. Her classroom experiences include teaching grade levels K–5 and inclusion, special education, literacy intervention, and gifted and talented programs in three different states.