summer slide, reading, literacySummer is nearly here!

While kids may be rejoicing about the prospect of a summer break, parents and educators may wonder what they can do to combat the dreaded “Summer Slide”–a time when many students lose or forget the skills they learned during the school year.

As all educators know, kids who are already below grade level in their reading are especially at risk when summer break hits.

Summertime and the Reading Is Easy?

During the school year, struggling readers may receive more hands-on help from teachers and supplemental digital programs like Imagine Language & Literacy. But all bets are off once kids leave for the summer break.

For one thing, not all parents have the luxury of being at home with kids during the summer months.

What’s more–daycare, summer camps, and even summer school can be expensive for a lot of families. Even parents who work may not have the means to fight the summer slide in the traditional ways.

So, what’s a parent to do?

bedtime reading, child, book, summer slide

How to Build Kids’ Literacy Skills this Summer

Even working parents can stimulate an interest in reading if they play their cards right. Here are just a few tips to keep kids engaged in reading this summer:

1. Book nooks – Most kids love having a quiet corner of their own, even if it’s just a tent fort made from an old blanket and a couple of chairs. Encourage your child to bring books into their special place. Or let them improvise a bookshelf out of a box they decorate themselves.

2. Library visits – Stop by your local public library after work or on the weekend. Librarians are only too happy to recommend books that match interests and reading levels of each child. You can even buy used books on the cheap during library sales. Plus–there’s always story time!

3. Audio books – While reading to children is always recommended, audio books can also engage kids. Let the kids listen on their devices, or plug in and listen as a family in the car. As always, a good story can be addictive!

4. Oral traditions – Running errands with the family after work? Start a tradition of storytelling en route. Encourage kids to create a story about a family member, about what they see out the window, or about any other subject that strikes their imagination. Bonus: telling a story out loud helps kids build sequencing skills (e.g., telling a story from start to finish).

5. New words – As a family, decide to learn at least one new word a week. Have each member of the family vote on a new word; then, post copies of the word and its definition in key spots throughout the house. Try using the new word in a story!

6. Out loud! – Quick–have your child grab a book and read any paragraph out loud. Discuss what you think the paragraph has to do with the rest of the story. If kids struggle with a word, let them sound it out and tell you what they think it means.

7. Reading recipes – Even the pickiest readers like to eat! Why not “read” a recipe out loud and make a treat this weekend? You’ll be helping your kids gain confidence in the kitchen as they read. Bonus: They’ll also be boosting their math skills as they calculate how much of each ingredient they need.

8. Written notes – Of course, reading and writing go hand in hand. Boost your child’s written communication skills by having them write notes to you, to each other, or to a friend. Vary the text messaging habit by letting kids deliver their own hand-written notes. Need help creating the grocery list? Writing helps build letter recognition and other literacy skills.

9. Picture books – If you have old magazines lying around the house, let kids cut out pictures and rearrange them into a “story,” picture-book style. Give them a glue stick, some paper, and let them go to it!

10. Anywhere access – If your kids have used Imagine Language & Literacy during the school year, chances are that they can log in at home (or, for households without computer access, at the local library). What better way to build language and literacy skills while having a lot of fun? If you’re not sure about anywhere access, talk to your child’s teacher.

Kid with iPad and ILL

Next week, check out our tips for Slowing the Summer Slide–Part II: Math.

Meanwhile, share your ideas with us below about how you keep the learning going all summer long.