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Beating the "Summer Slide"

Summer slide may sound like a playground or water park, but it can also be a dangerous side effect of children who are not actively engaged in learning over the summer months. This learning loss can cause children to fall behind in school simply because their brains are not getting enough exercise. Luckily, learning doesn't just happen in a classroom! We would like to help families prevent learning loss and engage children in fun ways to keep the learning going all summer!

Summer is a time for new experiences, being outside, and having fun. It can be too easy to depend on the TV or tablet to keep children entertained. What better way to keep kids active and energized than inspiring their imagination with a good story? Keep their creativity going by reading new stories that engage their sense of adventure. Here are a few things you can do while reading a story:

  • Talk to them and ask what they might do in a situation from a story.
  • Look at the pictures in the story and guess what is happening before reading through the book. Ask your child what he thinks might happen. Make sure your child knows it is okay to be wrong sometimes!
  • Relate the story to the child's life - "Remember the time we went to the zoo? Just like Madeline. Were you afraid of the tiger?"
  • Talk about what you see - in the book, in the world. Keep the conversation going!
  • Act out a favorite story together.
  • If your child does not seem interested in books, try finding a subject that interests them.
  • Use your imagination to start an adventure. Can you imagine that you're swimming in the ocean? What kind of things would you see?
  • Talk to the children's librarian about what books he or she would recommend for your child.
  • Ask friends or family members what their favorite books are right now.


1. Reading is the most important subject in school because it is needed to master other subjects. From first through third grade, children learn to read—but from then on, children need to read to be able to learn.

2. Reading aloud to your child is helpful even when he or she is an infant. The sound of your voice has a soothing effect, and eventually your child will learn to associate your voice and books with security.

3. A child spends only about 900 hours out of the year at school—the other 7,800 are spent at home. That means parents are a child’s most important teachers.

4. Although children may read at one level, they can listen at a higher level. Encourage children to read books to themselves at their own reading level, but you can read to them at two levels higher.

5. Children who come from homes with the most print (books, magazines, newspapers) have the highest reading levels. Try having books readily accessible all over your home—in the bathroom, in the living room, at the kitchen table, etc.

6. Research shows that more than 10 hours of TV a week has a negative impact on a child’s grades. Try cutting down on TV time and hand your child a book!

7. Finland has some of the highest reading scores in the world. Why? In part because they use the closed captioning device more than other countries. When your child is viewing TV, try turning on closed captioning. Your child will unconsciously begin to link the sight of the words with their sounds. (These facts and tips are adapted from a handout by renowned educator Jim Trelease, which you can find here.)

These are just a few helpful facts to help parents and children love to learn. As we take time to read with our children every day, we will not only prepare them to enter the world with success but also form stronger community bonds as we interact and talk with one another about what we read.

Adapted from this article: