While summer is the perfect time for kids to take advantage of days spent away from the classroom, remember not to put valuable skills, like reading, on the back burner. In fact, research estimates that one to two months’ of learning loss can occur during the summer months.
To help your child maintain his or her reading level and avoid the “summer slide” — which can be counteracted in part by reading 20 minutes a day over the summer — Kate DiCamillo, a two-time Newbery Medal-winning author and the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program literary partner, recommends finding ways to make reading a fun, interactive experience that incorporates children’s interests.
“Reading together is one of the best ways I know to foster a love of reading,” DiCamillo said. “You can read to your child. Your child can read to you. You can listen to an audiobook together. You can both read the same book at the same time and discuss it when you are done. Reading is a way to connect to each other and the world.”
Help your student maintain his or her skills and develop a love of reading this summer with these tips.
Love the Library
To help ensure learning doesn’t stop once school lets out for summer, making periodic trips to the library part of your routine can be a good step. For many children, browsing the shelves on their own and discovering new books in a library can help them get excited about reading. Most libraries offer something for every reader, regardless of age or skill level, including a structured environment that can help make reading a priority.
During the school year, many of the books your student is reading are probably assigned, but summer offers the opportunity for him or her to choose what to read and tailor selections toward specific hobbies or interests, which can increase enjoyment.
Start by creating a list of books and activities that align with those interests, and take advantage of prebuilt lists at libraries or online resources like those at bookitprogram.com/summer, which offers a variety of book suggestions and activities to help increase reading during the summer months.
Many schools, bookstores and libraries offer summer reading programs for students. Joining a program can provide a way to track your child’s progress, and there are typically rewards involved for meeting certain criteria, which can provide a level of motivation that may otherwise be difficult to replicate.
Make Materials Matter
In addition to traditional books, summer reading can include materials of all lengths, from chapter books to short stories and even magazines or comic books. Even if you’re committed to limiting screen time during the summer, consider a compromise that allows for the use of devices to read ebooks or listen to an audiobook.
Read on the Road
One of the best ways to ensure your kids are reading is to make reading materials available to them, even when you’re on the go during the busy summer months. Whether it’s a long road trip or just a trip to the store, taking books — or playing audiobooks — in the car is a perfect opportunity to squeeze in some reading time.
Fostering the habit during the summer can help ensure your child is prepared when school — and the annual BOOK IT! Program — starts again. The program, available to kindergarten through sixth-grade students, helps motivate students to read by rewarding them with recognition and pizza. Learn more about the program and find more summer reading tips and activities at bookitprogram.com/summer.