Get Back to School Ready: Stop the Summer Slide

by , posted on August 5th, 2013 in The Reading Nook




five ways to avoid the summer reading slide

Not THAT slide – THAT slide we want. But let’s keep any sliding IN the playground this summer. Reading sliding? That’s the one we’re stopping.

Especially in the early, foundational elementary school years, the summer slide is a huge risk. Kids can lose up to one month of their previous year’s learning over the summer.

They are JUST hitting their stride in reading and writing so why not at least maintain what they’ve learned during the year?

But we’re not talking about summer school. We’re not talking about tutors. And we’re not talking about loooonnnng days at a desk stacked with worksheets while their pals are playing outside.

You know me – I’m a lover play. That they need too.

Here are my best strategies to minimize the summer slide.

1. Have your child read aloud to you every day for 15 minutes.
Have a reluctant reader? Pick an easier book for them to work on their reading fluency. Encourage them to read more quickly and with funny voices/accents for each character.

A stronger reader? Pick a chapter book that interests them.

2. Check out your local library’s book club.
Many libraries run reading challenges and contests for kids each summer. Have your kids take part.

how to stop summer slide

3. Have your kids spend 10 minutes a day writing in a journal.
Use writing prompts or have them write a few sentences about what happened the previous day.

Here’s a short checklist for them to go over once they are done:
-Proper capitals?
-Punctuation?
-Complete sentences?
-Letters the proper sizes?

getting kids ready for school

4. Read to them every day.
No matter how skilled they are at reading, their reading comprehension will continue to improve from YOU reading to them. Take a book with you wherever you go. Waiting at a restaurant? Read for a few minutes. Rest break at the park? Read to them. Finished breakfast? Read to them.

5. Have your kids help plan a trip.
Going on a vacation? Taking a day trip? Pull out the paper maps or google maps. Check out some sites online. Have your kids read these and help plan the itinerary.

The beauty of these tips is that they can ALL be integrated easily into your summer routine. And with just a few minutes a day, your kids will hit the ground running with confidence when school starts in September.


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Comments

6 Responses to “Get Back to School Ready: Stop the Summer Slide”

  1. Kirsten Says:

    August 5th, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    I love love love this post. I’ve had a lot of fun with reading out loud to my kids (this summer we’re reading The Great Brain – LOVE), and with having them read to me, but OMG the weeping and wailing about the journals. Ugh.

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Kirsten, my kids have had to do journals too. We’re such meanines ;)

    Sandra Reply:

    The girl wrestles with this too. I think it’s part developmental and part personality. It’ll get easier for them.

    I think that part of the answer is finding that “learning edge” where it’s enough creative writing to be a challenge but not too much so that it isn’t attainable. For one kid it’ll be three sentences and for the next one it might be a couple of pages.

    Every little bit helps – better to do a little every day than a HUGE amount once a week.

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Totally agree. Right now, I am trying to ramp up how much they have to write. When they started, it was so they could practice their cursive. Now that they seem to have that more or less mastered, I’m working on getting Jonah to write “longer-stronger” and Ellie to write more “lively” sentences.

    For me, it’s all about the shaping behavior. But I have to say, it’s been a slooooow process… Maybe it should be though. I guess we’ll see when they get back to school.

  2. Sally from Little Hiccups Says:

    August 5th, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    My daughter’s school handed out Summer Reading Contracts to all of the kids before the last day of school. The contract encourages kids to read a certain amount per week (60 minutes for incoming 1st graders), list the books they’ve read and how long for, and give each book a rating. When they go back to school they’ll hand in their completed contracts and win a prize. My daughter has never been so eager to read! She was already pretty into reading but this has made her even more interested.
    The best bit? Not only has it stopped her from losing the reading skills she learnt over the past year but I’ve noticed a huge improvement in her reading since the start of Summer.

    Sandra Reply:

    What a great idea! And I like that it’s an amount of time rather than particular books. At that age there’ll be beginning readers, a bunch in the middle, and one or two who might be into chapter books already.

    Anything to keep them reading regularly.

    And because I can’t help myself, throw in a few questions about the content to work on their comprehension skills.


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