Jun 07, 2018
Reading should be an essential activity during your child’s summer holidays. To combat the “summer slump” and ensure their on track for academic success, here are ways to motivate your young readers to hit the books.
The summertime reading slide is real: when children don’t keep reading over the long summer months away from school, their reading skills and academics will likely suffer.
A 2010 University of Tennessee – Knoxville study found that children who read during their summer vacation “tend to gain a month of reading proficiency.” But for children who didn’t read, the trend went the other way. On average, those kids lost two to three months of reading proficiency. According to another recent report, American students spent, on average only 10 minutes reading outside of school.
The reading performance slump also has a noticeable bias: lower-achieving students hurt more from a lack of summer reading. The resulting reading ability gap widens as kids head back to school, with summer readers having a distinct academic advantage.
Given that better readers often make all-round better performing students, what can parents (and tutors) do to encourage their reluctant literati?
1. Building a daily routine
The surest way to reverse the summer slump is to encourage your child to read every day. Children should read for at least 30 minutes, either by themselves or with others.
To make things more engaging for your child, allow them to have a say in the choice of reading material.
It’s also a great bonding opportunity to spend time reading with your children if they need the extra motivation.
2. Local reading programs
A structured reading program can ensure your child maintains their reading routine. Your local schools, community centers, or libraries may offer a range of summer reading programs, incorporating interactive projects and field trips to enliven the act of reading.
Having a reading tutor also makes reading more social, which can be stimulating for struggling readers.
3. Connecting words to activities
Parents can also take matters into their own hands over the summer months: connect your family activities to reading material for your child.
Whether you’re planning a trip to the zoo or out of town, find books that relate to the activity and add depth to the experience. This way, children directly relate what they’re seeing or doing to what they’re reading. It’s a constructive win-win for family downtime and boosting your child’s reading skills.
Combining your child’s reading lists and family activities is also a fantastic opportunity to enrich their critical thinking skills as well. By keeping a summer diary of what they’ve read and done, your child can reflect on what they’ve accomplished, as well as have a convenient portfolio of material to use for potential school and tutoring assignments.
4. Enlisting tutors
You don’t have to plan alone: If your child sees a tutor for their school studies, consider asking whether they could recommend a reading plan for the summer months.
Tutors are well-geared to help readers of any ability level, from struggling to advanced, and they can also incorporate useful activities to reinforce both reading and comprehension skills.
5. Considering summer school
If your child is struggling more generally with their studies, your child might benefit from having a more structured program of academic support during the long summer break. Consider whether summer school or other activities are right for your child.
These are only a few of the many ways that parents can take full advantage of those precious summer months. Reading shouldn’t be a chore; by encouraging your children to read daily, you’re connecting them to a valuable resource for greater learning.