Stop the summer slide — keep learning going throughout summer months

Summer slide is the tendency for students to undo the gains they made during the previous school year, or to not be as prepared for the new, higher-level requirements of their grade level when they return to school in the fall, especially for students who struggle with reading.

While some parents like to give students a break in the summer, it is an important time for students to be engaged in literacy activities, especially if they already are experiencing difficulties with reading. Keeping up a reading routine in a season packed with diversions, helping children see the importance of reading, and making it be something exciting to do in the summer can be a challenge. The following ideas can help to make reading fun and fit this important activity into a busy summer schedule.

Set aside time to read each day. Reading high-quality books that are just right, not too hard and not too easy, for just 20 minutes per day will help students maintain their reading skills. Help your child find a book series he or she will enjoy, which could include graphic novels or comics. These are much more visual, but still provide a good reading opportunity for children. Incorporate reading into your everyday activities. Reading is all around us, and daily routines provide great reading opportunities. Take advantage of the opportunities that pop up during your child’s day, no matter how small, like reading a recipe or reading about some place you are going to visit. Read aloud to your child. Reading aloud benefits all students, especially those who struggle. You can read books that your child can’t, which builds listening comprehension. Take advantage of your local library. Libraries often run summer reading programs that motivate children to read over the summer. These programs are educational and provide fun enrichment activities throughout the summer and they’re free.

Get your child involved in the summer reading program available through Central Rivers Area Education Agency (CRAEA). CRAEA provides an online resource which a collection of fiction and nonfiction titles for K-12 students to encourage students to keep reading all summer long with ebooks available through MackinVIA library. There are easy to use websites containing e-books and activities that will keep children reading in the summer (http://centralriversaea.iwanttoread.org/elem or http://centralriversaea.iwanttoread.org/sec). MackinVIA is an eBook resource that contains a collection of fiction and nonfiction titles for K-12 students. The collection has hundreds of titles and crosses all content areas. Questions regarding the Summer Reading Website or MackinVIA may be directed to Central Rivers AEA Librarians, Cheryl Roberson (croberson@centralriversaea.org) or Cari Teske (cteske@centralriversaea.org). You may also contact your building/district teacher librarian for more information regarding your MackinVIA login.

Reading is an essential building block for success in all aspects of life. Plan now to prevent the summer slide.

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Kim Swartz is the Director of Instruction for Central Rivers Area Education Agency (CRAEA). She can be reached at kswartz@centralriversaea.org.