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5 Ways to Prevent Summer Reading Loss

July 23, 2018

If you have ever sat down and wondered if your child loses academic skills over the nearly three months off from school each summer, you would be in good company. For years, educators and researchers have found that students tend to lose what they’ve learned in school over the long summer months, often returning to school about a month behind! 

This well-known phenomenon is called the “summer slide”, and you’ve no doubt heard about this concerning reality that plays out between each school year. While the summer slide affects all academic areas, one of the major subjects where your child shouldn’t lose ground is in reading. Learning to read is tough work, and any skills lost means your child will work that much harder in the fall to make up for the resulting summer reading gap. 

Fortunately, it’s easy to keep kids reading in the summer months, even if they have struggled with learning to read. Let’s take a closer look at how reading in the summer can reverse the infamous summer slide before exploring five ways to engage kids in reading this summer! 

Why Summer Reading Pays Off

If you ask a teacher, they’ll likely tell you that the best way to transform kids into better readers and writers is to simply pick up a book and get reading! If you’re still not convinced, reading with your child this summer will help your child: 

  • Build vocabulary 
  • Improve reading comprehension
  • Hone verbal communication skills 
  • Strengthen spelling and writing skills 
  • Sharpen grammar knowledge and usage

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You can think of reading as a key that unlocks the door to learning across all domains. Improving literacy skills will help your child learn across the curriculum, poising them for success in science, social studies, math, and more! 

Ways to Involve Kids in Summer Reading

When it comes to reading to your kids, or letting kids read to you, the most important thing you can do is to ensure that you are raising readers who love to read! Some kids naturally love to read, while others struggle to stay interested, or have learning difficulties that make them reluctant. Let’s take a look at ways to get kids passionate about reading! 

Mix in reading during everyday activities 

Does your child help cook or bake? Ask him or her to read the recipe for you while you work in the kitchen. If your child likes to help you fix or build things, read through the instructions with your child.

We are literally surrounded by different types of informational texts, and by handing off the reading to your child, he or she will be utilizing literacy skills, and gaining vocabulary along the way. No matter what you’re doing around the house, or even on vacation, be sure to ask your child to help you read, and point out the text around you to help open your child’s eyes to reading! Learn about cooking as a source of learning for your kid

Uncover passions and topics your child loves 

It might seem obvious that kids won’t read books if they’re not interested. But have you thought about using your child’s interests as a catalyst for finding fascinating books your child will love?

Fiction is great, but if your child is a reluctant reader, gravitate towards what your child likes to learn about. Is it dogs, boats, dinosaurs, or space? Whatever your child wants to learn about can be learned through reading a book or magazine! Check out the kids nonfiction section at your local library, or simply open your web browser and head to National Geographic Kids to find engaging articles your child will love! 

Audiobooks ease reluctant readers into reading

You might be wondering how audiobooks can help readers when listeners aren’t actually reading. While you shouldn’t be relying on audiobooks for all your child’s summer reading, they can actually be an invaluable tool in sparking a reluctant reader’s interests. Some kids need to be eased into reading and might not feel confident enough to read on his or her own. If this is the case for your child, an audiobook can go a long way in building interest in books, while still increasing comprehension skills as your child listens. 

Don’t forget about tried and true classics

Let’s face it: we all have our favorite childhood books that we loved while growing up! Many parents today remember Dr. Seuss fondly, reading classics like Cat in the Hat, or The Lorax. Maybe you absolutely loved Maurice Sendak’s, Where the Wild Things Are, or grew up on Shel Silverstein poems. Rediscover your childhood favorites, and introduce them to your own child. Your passion will spread to your child, resulting in a love for reading that is contagious! Ask your kid important questions while reading

Take advantage of series or popular authors

Another great way to jolt your child into summer reading is to engage kids with popular book series and authors. You won’t need to look far to find high-interest contemporary children’s authors. Simply ask your child’s elementary teacher or a librarian for recommendations, and they’ll likely tell you about today’s most prominent authors, like Mo Willems or Kevin Henkes.

You’ll also notice when you stop by  your local library or bookstore that many children’s books are grouped by series, and you’ll find an entire section of the bookshelf dedicated to Pete the Cat, The Berenstain Bears, or Clifford. Find books that your children’s friends are reading, and they’ll feel a sense of fitting in with pop culture.


Reading with your child is awesome, and letting your child read to you is even better! In between reading sessions, be sure to target reading skills by using a reading app for kids that can hone in on problem areas. For younger kids, a learn to read app can even read to your child, highlighting words during reading to give you a much needed break. Check out our grammar and writing worksheets, and sprinkle in lessons when your child isn’t reading. 

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