How Can Parents Prevent the Summer Slide In Reading?
By Roslyn Haber, Ed.D., and Marlyn Press, Ed.D.

How Can Parents Prevent the Summer Slide In Reading?

June 21, 2016   |   ASK THE EXPERTS  

The “Summer Slide” is a well-documented phenomenon of summer learning loss by students. This refers to the fact that many children do not engage in much reading over the summer and tend to regress in reading skills during this time.

Children who do read during the summer, start the new school year with a better understanding of the language and the world around them. They have read about new and exciting experiences. The more they read, the more successful they are with reading and the more they like reading. The more children like reading, the more likely they are to read.

For all parents, the following are some suggestions to get your child reading and keep her reading:

  1. Reward your child for reading (e.g.—a number of books read equals a number of stars which can be redeemed after one or two weeks for prizes or activities your child likes).
  2. Read and participate in various science games and field trips. Visit local science/technology themed museums. Read the material accompanying the exhibits with your child. At home, follow directions to build robots; grow plants and chart their growth. Write instructions for various procedures for safety. Ask and research scientific questions.
  3. Play games, especially those that require reading and math skills. Many of these games require problem solving skills. This fosters family time as well as intellectual growth.
  4. Cook together. Discuss what foods are good for your child. This can also develop direction-following skills and various forms of measurement.
  5. Have your child participate in vacation planning. He can learn to read maps, create travel routes, create time lines for the vacation, read transportation schedules, understand budgeting for vacations, and make choices about what attractions would be of most interest to the family members. After the trip, create scrapbooks using different types of media. Have your child create captions for the items you save.
  6. Encourage your child to write and illustrate about summer activities. Start by being a role model and keep a diary of what the family does during the summer. Get your child a diary so that s/he can keep track of thoughts and feelings about various activities and which ones were the most enjoyable.
  7. Read! Read! Read! —Many public libraries have summer programs for children of various ages. Libraries, as well as schools will often hand out book lists for students of various grade levels to read over the summer. You can also get book lists from the American Library Association, Reading Rockets ( and The Horn Book web sites. Parents should serve as role models and read themselves. In addition to books, read magazines, food boxes, newspapers, pamphlets—anything. 

By keeping your child engaged in literacy activities over the summer, you are making sure that your child does not lose momentum in learning. Your child will return to school with new ideas, valuable skills, a love or learning, and a connection to the world-at-large.

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