There is a well-known process that happens with kids during the summer break from school or preschool. It's called the summer slide. It's one of the reasons why when children return to school especially in the lower stages you may see a drop in the reading level the teacher assigns or it appears that they are going backwards, or them repeating lots of the same work again and again. As a parent, you will have seen the progress that the children made last year and feel a little disappointed for them as they could go back 4 or more levels depending on the teacher and also the children can feel a little despondent as well. They worked hard all last school year and some like my own daughter really struggled to gain those levels to be put back can make them feel that their effort has been for nothing.
Although we a long way off breaking for summer in the UK I know that many of my US friends and family break up in May or early June. For their children that means that there will be around about 3 months of summer that this summer slide can take place. So over the next couple of weeks, I wanted to give you some easy, quick ways that you can help your child to reduce this summer slide whilst still having a fun summer filled with simple things.
Summer Slide ~ With Reading
It is a fact that most schools from my experience will take your child back a level or two at the start of the new academic year to check that they haven't "lost" that knowledge over the summer they hope that they haven't and after a couple of weeks you see a big leap, however, this summer slide does happen and you can spend the first 2 to 3 months of the year re-reading lots of the books that you read last year.
One of the easiest ways is to spend part of the summer reading and connecting with books it doesn't have to be boring I promise you but spending part of each day as you would during the school time is the best way that you can help your child when the new school year begins.
How to establish a good summer reading habit
If you are like us then during the school term you have reading "homework" each day, this homework is to sit and read together either hearing your child read in the lower years and helping them decipher words and gain confidence and in the later years setting aside time when they can read their school books or if they are "free readers" their chosen books from home.
You may have a bookworm at home in which case I'm sure like we are with my son getting him to put down the book at bedtime is more of an issue than getting him to pick it up in the first place. But my daughter is the opposite and that dedicated reading time is important as it's part of a routine.
We read before school every day for around 5 - 10 minutes depending on the length of her book. In that time we read and then ask questions about what we have read helping her with the comprehension part of reading that as she moves up the school will become more and more a part of reading than the actual "learning to read"
When summer comes reading before school won't necessarily fit into our summer routine at all instead we need to establish a summer reading habit that we can take away with us when we go on vacation as well as use daily.
Tips for Establishing a Summer Reading Habit
- Set aside 10 - 20 minutes a day when EVERYONE that is home will read. I find in the summer this is easier to do either after breakfast if we are not off out for the day or after dinner in the evening.
- Read aloud at bedtime even though my eldest can read it's important to spend a little quality time connecting over books in the evening and helps him and me unwind. Read more about why I still read aloud to him.
- Read together as a family from a classic. Take your favourite classic literature book from your childhood and read together I love this idea you could combine it with something like the family dinner book club that is organised by Growing Book by Book or like we did last year take it camping with us and when it got dark sat around a torch reading together.
- Make reading fun - there are some fantastic reading programmes over the summer like our members only Virtual Book Club Summer Camp which has so much more than just reading it's a full 3 week summer programme that will help reduce that summer slide in ALL areas or our free Storybook Summer with crafts and simple activities connected with some fantastic popular children's books.
- Record what you read with you children available at the moment to record the books read during the summer, you could buy a reading log I like these Reading Journals available on Amazon they are aimed at specific age groups and include prompts to help your children think about the books that they are reading as well as noting down what they have read or a third option is to create your own like this paper chain reading log from Eighteen 25
Where to find books
Books can be expensive - as a certified bookworm my reading habit has cost a lot of the money over the years but more recently I've found a few ways to save some money.
- Read a book on the screen - Kindle has a great selection of books for kids some are free like the classics or if you have Prime or Kindle Unlimited then there are lots that are included there that you can rent and return.
- Join your library they aren't just for books - audio books are a great way to get kids reading as well as renting a DVD and a book that go together and read them and watch them.
- Set up a home loan system with your friends - make your own book collections a library with your kid's friends, they can share books read new ones that they will instantly like more than the ones that you have recommended as their friends will have them too
Next I week I will share some tips and ideas for summer slide prevention in terms of writing and the following week Mathematics.