Research suggests that children lose two months of their reading skills during summer vacation, and they lose one month of overall learning. Three mere months is all it takes for these skills to evaporate. And while this may not seem dire, losing this knowledge can be detrimental to children later in their educational career. By sixth grade, children who have experienced continual learning loss are two years behind their peers. These statistics highlight a serious problem for students. Summer vacation should be fun, and children deserve the break, but the summer slide presents troubling consequences.

Thankfully, there are a few simple solutions to prevent the dangerous effects of the summer slide. Here are four ways to keep young minds active throughout summer vacation.

1.) Consider a Local Summer Reading Program

Many local libraries offer programs for students. These programs encourage children to actively read by offering various events and rewards for staying on track. Libraries are also a great resource for parents, providing them with books and articles that can help them navigate various developmental levels. Those interested in becoming involved with Dane County Libraries can visit their website here.

2.) Get Creative! 

Your kids just spent nine months in a classroom, so it’s likely that they will not be thrilled to sit and read for hours. Work with them to find activities that will be fun, but also activate their brain. Have them help you cook dinner. They can practice reading with the recipe and work on math with measurements. They can exercise critical thinking skills while figuring out each clue. Visit a museum or the zoo. They can read about animals or exhibits, and they will gain new knowledge. Have them write a journal about the experience for a bonus activity!

3.) Make Reading a Routine  

Read with your children daily. They will come to expect this from you, and hopefully, they will look forward to that time with you. Share the experience by having your child read to you and then read to your child. They will improve their vocabulary and gain confidence when they read to you, and when you read to them, they will gain listening and comprehension skills. Get in a habit of having your child read simple things as well, such as a newspaper headline or a street sign. Including them on these daily reading tasks will keep them aware of the importance of reading.

4.) Six Books for Success

Research suggests that reading six books during the summer will keep a reader from regressing. Keep track of the books your child reads, and praise them for each one they finish. When selecting books, give your child a challenge, but make sure the book fits their skillset so they do not become frustrated and quit. If you are unsure of age-appropriate books, you can check out Scholastic’s book list.

Engaging your children with these activities will fend off the summer slide. By making an intentional effort to keep them on pace, you can help your children prepare for the start of school. Help your children retain the knowledge they worked so hard for and keep those young minds active this summer!


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