I’m an admitted book nerd and enthusiastic supporter of all things library and reading. I am the first to suggest using the library as a resource and I always make kids read at my house – even other peoples’ kids. There’s a reason they say reading is fundamental.
The summer slide is no joke. Kids can lose up to three months of reading skills over the summer if they don’t practice. Three months. So basically, school let out in March but you had to pack lunches until June. That’s not fair to your student or their teachers. Consider the following astonishing facts:
- Kids who read just four books over the summer reflect increased reading comprehension in the fall (compared to kids who don’t read any books).
- Teachers spend 4-6 weeks reteaching reading that has been lost over the summer.
- Reading loss is cumulative. That means by the end of 6th grade, kids who do not read during the summer will be two years behind their peers who do read during the summer.
The good news is that this problem is easily prevented! Make your kids read. Do whatever you have to Make. Your. Kids. Read. Have DEAR (drop everything and read) time at home – where you read too. Be a reading role model. Go to the library, let your kids see thousands of books and pick out some that interest them. (92% of kids will finish a book that they pick themselves!) Try a book club for kids with some neighborhood kids. Offer simple incentives for reading!
Summer reading programs are abundant. You can find them on the local and national level. Most of these programs focus on the time spent reading, not the number of books or pages read. This puts the focus on the reading – not the finishing – and encourages reading comprehension.
Barnes and Noble – if you complete the B&N Summer Reading Journal, you can earn a free book!
Book IT! has an interactive summer program. No free pizzas, but there are interactive themed games to encourage reading many popular children’s books.
Summer of Seuss – try these neat activities based upon Dr. Seuss books. This is great for younger readers – offer the activities upon completion of the books!
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten – technically not for summer, but summer is a great time to start. It is possible! We did it here in less than a year. This is great for younger readers. Bonus – have your older child read to your younger child – it’s a triple dip – reading for both AND quality time together!
Many local libraries have summer reading programs. There are kickoff parties, reading events and incentives. Here are some links to public libraries in and around Detroit. Find one near you and see if there’s a summer reading program.