How to Prevent the Summer Slide with Reading
Summertime is here! For millions of kids across the globe, that means summer vacation. No more school, no more classes, and no more scholarly obligations. Freedom!
While the break is well-deserved and much-needed for the little ones, shutting down all educational activities for several weeks can interfere with their learning progress. “Summer slide” is the learning loss that occurs when students do not challenge their brains during a school break, and its effects can be challenging.
This year, with schedules already being irregular and remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever for parents to keep their children’s cognitive skills active. During the summer, parents need to take the initiative to continuously help their kids grow their skills and prevent the summer slide.
Tips to encourage your child to read
There are several fun activities that can support the development of essential skills that are feasible at home. Many of them can help with the prevention of learning loss as well.
One activity, however, stands out—reading. It also has the potential to become a lifetime hobby.
The benefits of reading are plentiful: not only early childhood benefits such as an improved vocabulary and fluency in language, but also an increased ability to focus and sleep better throughout a lifetime.
To help your child become an avid reader, here are five tips from Jacqueline Opbroek from UNGA’s DTC brand Hey Reader:
- Keep books at your fingertips
Make sure books are always easy to reach. Decide on a convenient place for your child’s books, such as a reading basket in the living room or a separate shelf in the bookcase.
Are you going on a trip? Do not leave the books in the travel bag; instead, make sure they have a place where they can catch your child’s eye. This way, your child can reach for a book at any time.
- Do it together
Reading is even more fun when you do it together. Find a place to read with your child. Anywhere comfortable is fine!
Take turns reading and talk a little about what you have read. Ask questions about the story and fantasize about it (“What would happen if…?”). Compliment your child, and make this a fun and recurring activity.
- Set a good example
Grab a book yourself, and enjoy! You’ll be a source of inspiration for your family. Also, tell them now and then about what you read and why you think it is a beautiful (or funny, interesting, etc.) story.
- Words are everywhere
Whether the menu of a restaurant, labels of products, or a booklet from the zoo, opportunities to read are omnipresent. For long rides, provide your loved ones on the backseat with a joke or activity book for them to gain some casual reading experience.
- Keep it fun!
Is your child not a bookworm (yet)? No worries! Keep it light, and don’t set the bar too high. Ten minutes a day can quickly grow into an hour every week. Picture books or comic books are great for beginners. Encourage your child to read, and remember to give them compliments when they begin to do so.
Use the summer break to start reading now
The best time for your children to get engaged in reading is now, and it can help them prevent the summer slide. Furthermore, the summer break provides a great opportunity to start reading, as children have the time and the capacity to discover new hobbies and habits. Many children gravitate more and more towards screens, but parents can actively present an alternative with reading.
How to start? For reading material, book clubs like Hey Reader in the Netherlands provide monthly boxes with diverse reading materials for children of different ages. Furthermore, they also provide creative arts & crafts activities related to their books or calendars to capture children’s achievements and plan ahead.
In the long term, summer reading can be a recurring activity. After the summer holidays, your children can not just report about the adventures they lived themselves but also the ones they read about. Better yet, they can do all that without having to catch up with the previous year’s study material!