When I was a kid, summer was a time for playing outside all day. My friends and I ran through the sprinklers, rode our bikes, and played on the swings and slide at the park. Going down the slide was my favorite thing. I loved the twists and turns of the bright-red plastic tube slide. I enjoyed the anticipation that came with each step as I climbed the ladder to the top of the highest slide at the park. I laughed at the feeling in my stomach as I quickly slid down the tall, steep, metal slide. The words summer and slide have a different meaning to me now that I’m an adult and a teacher.
Each year as school ends and students leave for summer break, I worry about the “summer slide” or “brain drain,” as it is sometimes referred to, that often occurs with students.
Studies have shown that students can lose as many as three months of reading skills and 2.6 months of math computation skills if they don’t continue to practice during the summer. Over a childhood of summers, that’s a lot of lost progress!
Do not fret, though. There are many ways to keep students from sliding in their reading skills this summer! If students continue to read for at least 20 minutes every day during the summer, they will maintain and continue to progress.
Here’s a few ideas to make reading fun: Encourage your children to read by signing them up for a fun reading program provided by your local library; check out audiobooks, and listen to them in the car as a family; keep books in plain sight, and make them readily available to your kids; buy a few new books for summer, and have summer outings to the park for reading on a blanket; have a neighborhood book club, and share the joy of reading with your children’s friends; and, finally, make sure to unplug your children from their devices, and give them quiet time each day to read.
You can develop a lifelong reader by being a good role model. Your example as a reader will be a great motivator. Share your favorite childhood book with your children. Let them see you reading, and enjoy a good book yourself this summer!