Have you ever heard of the “Summer Slide?”
If you haven’t, you’re not alone. According to an article from Scholastic, only 31% of parents have heard about the Summer Slide.
The Summer Slide is the tendency for students to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year, especially reading skills. Losses are accumulative, creating a wider gap each year. If a student is already a struggling reader, by the time they reach middle school, they are likely to have a two-year lag in reading achievement compared to other students. Studies also show that 3rd graders who can't read on grade level are four times less likely to graduate by age 18 than a proficient reader.
Creating a reading habit over the summer is the best way to prevent the Summer Slide and the loss of skills. Summer reading keeps a child’s mind engaged and helps to prepare for the upcoming school year. When September arrives, avid summer readers will be ready to learn.
Plus, reading is rad!
Getting Their Read On
Even when friends and water parks are beckoning, there are many ways to incorporate reading into the summer months. Here are a few of our favorite tips:
· Children are 92% more likely to finish a book that they picked out on their own, so take a trip to the library to scope out summer books together. If your child is a little bit older, perhaps there is a series that you could read together to help keep them engaged.
· You can also try to team up with another parent(s) and create a summer book club for your children. Kids can be more likely to get into something if their friends are doing it too, and you can always reward the group with a special outing or activity every time they finish a new book.
· Even if your summer schedule is super packed, consider the “in-between” time and try to utilize it—like travel time. Long car rides on vacation or plane flights are great opportunities to dive into a good book.
Our Summer Picks
Below we’ve shared some of our summer reading picks for various reading levels that beautifully incorporate important topics like mindfulness, mental health, disabilities, diversity and understanding that all emotions are okay. Others are just for fun—but still sneak in brain games!
A sweet story about kindness that also sneaks in some numbers and counting exercises. Perfect for maintaining both reading and math skills.
A friendly reminder for children (and adults!) to slow down a bit. A perfect read for when summer feels a tad too hectic.
A colorful book full of things waiting to be discovered.
A warm, welcoming picture book that celebrates diversity and gives encouragement and support to all kids.
The perfect book for your unicorn-obsessed child, an excellent choice for a book club with other littles.
A boldly illustrated picture book read-aloud about how everyone gets sad—ninjas, wrestlers, knights, superheroes, everyone…even daddies have emotions! A great book to talk to children about emotions and de stigmatizing thoughts about what a boy should or shouldn’t feel.
We’ll Paint the Octopus Red by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen
An endearing story about a girl named Emma who is ready to be a big sister. As she begins to imagine all the things she wants to do with him, her brother Isaac is born with Down Syndrome, and her father helps her see that Isaac is just the baby brother she hoped for. The book concludes with a set of commonly asked questions about Down syndrome with answers for children and how it might affect their sibling and family.
To others, 12-year-old Molly seems perfect. She keeps up an outward appearance of perfection, but when her mother temporarily moves away to pursue a job, her OCD-like habits become more extreme and she feels like her life is falling apart. This chapter book focuses on mental health and helps children break the idea of perfection.
Also a chapter book, this story is centered around a young girl named Finley who is sent to her grandparents while her parents are trying to work out their marital differences. It shines a light on depression and how Finley comes to work through it.
What about your children? Do they have a favorite summer read so far? If they’ve stumbled across a great series or something other children might like too, share below!