Today, I have a special guest post for back to school season from a good friend Elaine! While it’s a bit unrelated to mental health, which I try to focus on, Elaine wrote this for another blog, and it was never posted sadly, and I hate to see writing go to waste like this, especially with useful information! Elaine has written for me previously and you can see her post here if you are interested in seeing her other contribution to my blog.
Summer is the time of the year that we all look forward to as we count the last days of school. A break in the morning routines, rushing out the door, doing homework and squeezing in dinner time is on hold for a few months. It’s time to reconnect with your family and friends. But school is only on a break and we should remember that learning is a lifelong endeavor.
You often hear teachers and parents talk about the “summer slide”. That is the anticipation that children will drop up to two reading levels over the summer as they are no longer in the routine of reading every night. This is especially true of those in the lower grades who are just climbing to grade level.
As a parent, what can you do to prevent the summer slide?
Here are some suggestions:
Visit the library on some fun activity days (after the park or pool) and take a few books out. What is your child’s favorite author or genre? Encourage reading more books in a series or in a specific genre. Have your child look for books on their level to encourage reading confidently at that level and to keep their skills strong. Take turns reading the book together. Discuss what is happening in the book and make predictions and inferences whenever you can.
Students should continue to log into their school’s reading website and continue accessing their individual reading records. Most schools will use these throughout the primary grades to monitor your child’s reading growth. You can also check out other fun sites for students to continue reading by visiting We Have Kids.
They can alternate between reading books from the library and using these websites. Look for YouTube videos of their favorite books and have them read aloud to them. Listening comprehension is important and having continuous discussions keeps children interested in books and stories.
Model reading wherever you go! Read in the grocery store. Read on the train. Read signs when driving in the car. Model reading directions or recipes you are following. Put closed captioning on TV to follow along while characters are speaking. When children see the importance of reading in everyday life and tasks, they will be more apt to keep their skills up.
Children practice what they see. When they see their parents reading and enjoying it, they are more apt to show an interest. Explain how you find books in your interest areas and encourage them to do the same. Have an area set up in your home where you keep your favorite books and magazines. Make it represent you. If you love the beach you can display some sea shells and pictures on your shelves alongside your books. Have a cozy chair nearby. Cuddle up in your reading area with your child to encourage parent and child bonding over reading time.
Keep a reading log! If children keep a reading log required by school or just for them, they will be encouraged to have many books on their list. If there is a prize or recognition given at school for reading over the summer, keep encouraging them. Sign up for reading competitions at the local library or bookstore if available.
Work together with your child and encourage them to continue their reading growth and interest in reading. Make it clear how important reading is during their education and throughout their lives. Take a look at Child Mind for additional tips on keeping your child reading ready for a new school year.
And above all, enjoy your summer vacation and the ease of relaxation which comes from a much needed break.
Elaine Gallagher is an elementary educator for over 20 years and a freelance writer. She
currently teaches 2nd Grade. She loves music, dance and reading. You can connect with her on Facebook (Elaine EMG), Instagram (@ellyelementary) and Pinterest (Elly Elementary). Also, take a look at her two blogs: One on Education and one on Healthy Living.