Three Ways to Prevent Summer Slide
“Summer slide” is the tendency for children to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year; particularly in reading. Here are three ways to help your child avoid this pitfall:
Provide Access to Fun Books The most obvious way for a child to avoid summer slide is to read consistently over the summer. But as some parents will attest, it can be difficult to get a child to read during the school year, let alone over summer break. If your child loves to read…congratulations! You may proceed straight to We Are LIT’s Children’s Collection for your eager reader’s next great book! However, if getting your child to read is equivalent to pulling teeth…continue reading.
What this photo does not reveal is the battle that transpired prior to getting him to read and complete his daily reading log.
When a child does not like reading books, parents are left with few options to make reading tolerable. Two simple solutions are to provide access to fun books (save the history lesson for another time) and books that match the child’s interest and ability. The last thing you want to do for a child that dislikes reading is to give them a boring book that is too hard or too easy. Find the right books and then make reading part of your child’s daily schedule. I highly recommend a book series. With a book series, it is easy to set goals with your child to read so many pages a day, complete each book within a period of time, and so on. Book series are a great way to create consistency, while keeping a child engaged in reading.
The Carver Chronicles are high-interest, low reading-level (710 Lexile) stories from an award-winning author and former elementary school teacher full of kid-friendly charm and universal appeal for ages 6-9.
Online Research As the mom of a 12 year old that does not like reading books, my go to method to incorporate reading and comprehension is online research. The great thing about this method is it can be done without feeling like “work” to a child. When my son asks for a new gadget or even to visit a fun place like an indoor trampoline park; he has to research independently and present his findings before I make a decision. For instance, recently he wanted a new gaming headset for his PlayStation. When asked to buy it, I instructed him to go online and find 2-3 headsets to compare; and to make sure to get the cost, where it could be purchased, and product reviews. He ran off eagerly to do the research and was excited to share what he found (for obvious reasons). Having a child do research, not just for products; but for a variety of things such as recipes, looking up fun things to do during the family’s summer vacation, or how to complete a task; develops multiple competencies. Researching keeps a child reading, helps them make connections between what they've read and real life scenarios, presents an opportunity for them to develop their computer skills, and above all; it teaches a child how to find information and become an independent thinker.
Jedi Mind Tricks Let’s face it, sometimes despite our best effort, daily consistent reading does not go according to plan. When you are frustrated and fresh out of ideas on how to develop or enforce reading habits...no worries! You still have a card to play.
Regardless of what your tricks may look like, you have to do what you have to do. This could mean sitting your child down at the table with a book and giving them the evil mom (or dad) eye while snapping your fingers hastily. Or, it could be something less frightening like having your child read something to you aloud because you’ve conveniently misplaced your glasses and can’t see a thing.
Some parents suggest opening a book and reading (or pretending) a random page, then laugh out loud long enough for the child to inquire. Others "book proof" their house to make reading the only viable option for entertainment a child has. Whatever you do, do not feel guilty for using trickery! Consider it an act of love.