When we first heard about the summer slide, our minds went to playgrounds and laughter.
But the summer slide is actually no fun at all.
Did you know that the “summer slide” (sometimes called the summer setback, the summer slump, or summer learning loss) can cause kids to lose anywhere between one month to almost three month’s worth of learning?
Talk about one step forward and two steps back.
After a year’s work of diligent efforts at school, it’s a tragedy to let progress “slide” or “slump” during the summer, especially as our kids work so hard to overcome the disruption to their educations caused by the pandemic.
Fortunately, there’s good news for parents and students when it comes to overcoming the summer slump.
Research shows that the simplest but most powerful tool available to parents and kids to prevent the summer slide is to keep reading during the summer. Multiple studies have confirmed that “reading practices in the home”—during the school year and the summer—is one of the factors that has the most significant impact on academic outcomes.
To help you keep your kids reading this summer and fight the summer slump, here are five tips:
As a kid, I had a great summer job. My siblings and I took turns working at a small shaved ice stand situated on our town’s quiet main street. Fortunately for me, the shaved ice stand was also located kitty-corner to our town’s library. So I’d go to work a few minutes early and stop by the library on my way. There I’d check out a book to read during my shift when I wasn’t serving customers, which was actually quite a lot. (Did I mention it was a quiet main street.)
Whether your kids can go to the library on their own or it’s a family outing, we recommend making visits to your local library a regular occurrence this summer.
If you have an account set up for your family on our reading platform, you can easily add books to your Library List. Then you won’t arrive at the library thinking, “Now what was that book I wanted to look at next time I was at the library?” (If you don’t have a family reading account, it’s free to do. After you create your account, you can create reader profiles for each of your kids.)
Tip: Many of the libraries that we’ve been members of have let our kids open their own library accounts under ours, which means our kids can get their own library card. Nothing makes them feel bigger or more special than that!
Summertime is the season of yard sales.
And in addition to sweet furniture relics and vintage clothing, yard sales can be an excellent place to stock up on “new-to-you” books for your kids for only a few bucks.
Having plenty of books around the house is crucial to summer reading success. The more books that are available to kids, the more likely they are to be better readers. (If you’re wondering how many books you should have in your home, one hundred is not too many.)
One note, though, about building your library from yard sales:
Since it’s often old books you discover at yard sales, be attentive to the possibility that some old books haven’t aged well in terms of stereotypical or racist views.
They can still be valuable, important reads, but we recommend having a discussion with your young reader about the problematic content.
If you’re not familiar with a title or haven’t read it in a while, you can always check the book’s page on our platform, where we gather notes about book content parents might want to know about before kids read a book.
You can check it right from your phone at the yard sale. Just go to bookroo.com/books on your phone, click the search bar, and scan the book’s barcode with your phone’s camera. (If there aren’t any notes on a book and you do read it, pay it forward and add notes for the next parent.)
Subscribing to a book club is an excellent way to simplify summer reading. Bookroo offers four award-winning book club subscriptions for kids ages 0-12.
Each month, we send families amazing stories to enjoy and cherish.
We offer board, picture, junior chapter, and middle grade chapter book club options.
Best of all, kids keep the books we send, and our exclusive editions (for board, picture, and junior chapter book clubs) feature uniform heights and coordinated spines that make it super easy to keep your books organized and looking amazing on your shelf when reading time is over.
Another option to encourage summer reading is to join or create a summer reading challenge for your kids.
If you have a family or classroom account on our reading platform, reading challenges are really easy to set up.
And they’re even more fun to complete.
You can choose specific books for your child to read. Or you can select certain genres.
You can also set a certain number of books to be read.
Best of all, you can set a custom reward that you know will be exciting for your kids.
Tip: If you’re worried that rewarding reading is problematic, rest easy. Research has disproved that popular myth and shows that if anything, rewarding reading can create the perfect incentive for your child to discover the magic of a good book.
Our final tip is to tie reading into whatever it is you’re already doing this summer—especially the fun stuff!
Instead of making reading feel like a chore, or something to do before “the fun” starts, we find it works best to incorporate reading into the activities our kids are already excited about.
So if we’re heading to the pool, we bring along a book to read while lounging in the sun.
Or if we’re barbecuing at the park, we toss in some books to enjoy in the shade.
And nothing helps pass time during a road trip like a good story.
Tip: If reading in the car makes your kids sick, try an audio book. There are a number of good apps available, but we have had good experiences with Libby. Some of the stories we’ve most enjoyed as a family have been children’s books we’ve listened to on family road trips.