The "Summer Slide" has become a familiar term to those who work in education as well as parents. What is the Summer Slide? Essentially, it's the academic loss that children experience over the summer holidays. I've often been asked by parents at the library how to prevent their children from experiencing the feared "Summer Slide"
My advice is simple- "Kids who read succeed!"
But how do you incorporate reading into a daily activity in the summer without it seeming like school? I've had this dream of creating a book club for my son and his friends. With visions of them reading a book each week and then meeting to discuss our thoughts and feelings over a pitcher of lemonade and cookies. When I proposed this to my son, the horrified look on his face said it all. He also reminded me that Greg Heffley's mom from Diary of a Wimpy Kid also tried to create a book club for Greg and his friends.(This is just going to prove his point that I am very much like Susan Heffley)
It would be wonderful to walk past your childs bedroom and see them curled up with a book each night. Or even see them turn off the TV and curl up on the couch. Truth is, this doesn't always happen. Reading incentives work. Summer Reading Programs around North America are created on this premise and they are successful because of it. So, in addition to visiting a library and having your child sign up and participate in one of these fantastic programs, why not also provide a reading incentive at home. Here's my example:
Using stickers, or stamps, have your child mark the different places he or she has read for at least 20 minutes. The only rules are that only one square can be marked each day, and the reading should be a book at their level (no board books for a 12 yearold for example) for at least 20 minutes. Once the "bingo card" is full, have your child choose a fun family activity that you can do together as the "reward". You can create more cards to get you through the summer holidays by coming up with ideas for new places together.
**Take it a step further and create a visual reading log. You or your child (depending on their age) can take pictures of all the places they read this summer, and the books they read while there.**
I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas about preventing the "Summer Slide" in the comments.
(originally posted on my www.storytimewithjen.com site)