Avoiding the Summer Slide

There have been studies on it, some parents are not aware of it, and teachers dread it. Summer slide is the term used to describe the decline in learning among children during summer break. To put it simply, it’s what happens when minds sit idle for too long.

A study conducted in 2011 by RAND Corporation—a nonprofit institution that conducts research and analysis—revealed elementary students performance (reading and writing skills) tend to fall a month behind during the summer and it’s even worse for lower-income students due to the lack of access to libraries, summer academic programs, etc.
As a result, teachers often find themselves spending the first month of school re-teaching concepts and postponing new material.
But of course, we already knew this. For some children, their reading and writing skills decline dramatically in these two months filled with video games, swimming, and late movie nights (all good things, by the way in moderation). While for others, their skills remain stagnant.
The point is, as parents, guardians, babysitters, brothers, or sisters—we need to make time for the little ones and encourage them to read.
Believe it or not, but having your child read daily is just as good as sending them to summer school.  We have a wonderful list of summer reading for all reading levels here.
Summer is ending fast and your welcome-back-to-school letters are on their way. So, is your child ready? (and not in the emotional sense…but in the academic sense). We all know they aren’t ready to get up at 7:00 a.m. But are they ready?
The answer to that question is the answer to this one: Did they read?
If your answer is yes, excellent. If your answer is no, keep reading. This one is especially for you.
“It’s such a battle to get my kids to sit down and read!”—you say.
Don’t be alarmed.
Plenty of parents feel the same way. To end this, I’ve included the Top Ten Tips on How to Get Your Child to Read— without a fuss.
Don’t let your child return to school knowing less or knowing the same. Make sure they return to school prepared, even ahead.
1.       Give your child a project. Have them create, decorate, and design their own reading place. Let them organize their books.
2.       Visit a library. Let the kids pick out a few books to take home. They’ll discover new interests in drawings, dinosaurs, birds, who knows!
3.       Make sitting down to read a daily habit. Whether it’s every morning or every evening, make your expectations known.
4.       Make a deal. For every book they finish, you’ll buy them another. Give them incentive.
5.       Let them choose what they want to read. This is very important. Remember, once school starts, they are going to get into literature and novels, but now is the time to let them develop a taste for a genre they love.
6.       Let them read to you, or you to them. This gives your child an opportunity to practice reading aloud and you the opportunity to help them with pronunciation.
7.       The Internet. Check out Scholastic’s Summer Reading Contest. Log in your child’s reading time minutes and you might just win a prize. The Internet is a great resource to look for reading events around your community.
8.       Explain the importance of reading. Be prepared to give an answer to your kids when they protest reading. It has to do with their success. It has to do with their future.
9.       Be an example. Supposedly the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. If so, make it a point to read in front of your child.
10.   Make it fun. Invest audio books. Act out scenes. Pick a few books aside that have been made into a movie. Suggest your child to write his or her own book.
by Christie Sosa