21 Tips for Improving Student Reading Skills Over Summer Break

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As summer vacation season draws near, a notable trend emerges among children — the “summer slump.” Spanning three months, the “summer slump” period decreases reading and learning habits among students and presents a big challenge to academic development.

According to the National Summer Learning Association, students can lose up to 20% of their academic gains from the previous school year during the summer break. Despite this data and the recognized importance of summer learning, students continue to fall behind in literacy skills when reassessed at the start of the new school year.

Parental involvement remains crucial in mitigating the effects of the summer slump. Research from Scholastic indicates that only 17% of parents believe their children spend adequate time reading during the summer. By fostering a culture of continuous learning year-round, families and communities can strive to counteract the detrimental effects of the summer slump and promote equitable access to educational opportunities for all children, regardless of the season.

To combat the summer slump, here are some tips:

  1. Set aside dedicated reading time each day: Designate a specific time each day for reading — whether it’s in the morning after breakfast, at night before bedtime, or anywhere in between.
  2. Visit the local library and discover summer programs: Many libraries offer summer reading programs tailored to different age groups. These programs often include incentives such as prizes or certificates for reaching reading goals. Additionally, libraries host storytelling sessions, book clubs, or other events that make reading fun and interactive.
  3. Explore online resources for interactive learning activities: There are numerous educational apps that offer interactive learning activities across various subjects, from math and science to language arts and coding. Online reading resources have the added benefit of bringing the most current publications to young readers. Explore platforms like The Juice and NYT for Kids over the summer. 
  4. Encourage participation in educational camps or workshops: Look for summer camps or workshops that focus on topics your child enjoys or wants to explore further. These programs can provide hands-on learning experiences, foster creativity, and allow children to socialize with peers who share similar interests.
  5. Incorporate educational games or challenges into daily routines: Turn learning into a game by incorporating educational challenges or puzzles into everyday activities. For example, you could create a scavenger hunt based on nature facts or challenge your child to solve math problems while cooking together in the kitchen.
  6. Book Club: Start a family book club where everyone reads the same book and discusses it together.
  7. Reading Nook: Set up a cozy and inviting reading nook with comfortable seating and good lighting.
  8. Story Time: Have daily or weekly story time where you read aloud to your kids.
  9. Themed Reading: Choose books based on a theme, like space, animals, or fairy tales, to make reading more exciting.
  10. Book Swaps: Organize a book swap with friends or neighbors to exchange books and discover new ones.
  11. Interactive Books: Look for interactive books with flaps, pop-ups, or activities to keep younger kids engaged.
  12. Audiobooks: Use audiobooks for road trips or quiet time. They’re a great way to enjoy stories together.
  13. Read and Explore: Pair reading with activities, like reading a book about nature and then going on a nature hike.
  14. Reading Rewards: Create a reading rewards chart where kids can earn stickers or small prizes for each book they read.
  15. Book-Themed Crafts: Do crafts related to the books your kids are reading to enhance their understanding and enjoyment.
  16. Story Writing: Encourage your kids to write their own stories or create a comic book.
  17. Reading Picnic: Have a reading picnic at a park where everyone brings their favorite book.
  18. Guest Readers: Invite friends, family, or even local authors to read to your kids.
  19. Series Books: Get them hooked on a book series, which encourages them to keep reading to find out what happens next.
  20. Read Everywhere: Encourage reading in different places, like in the backyard, at the beach, or in a fort made of blankets.
  21. Book-inspired Adventures: After reading a book, plan an adventure related to it, like visiting a historical site mentioned in the story.

According to Lilli Montague the Education Executive at The Juice Learning, “Literacy deficiency is a widespread issue across the country. The US Department of Education found that around 54% of school children are reading below grade level. Additionally, about 130 million American adults are reading below a 6th graders level.  Parents must create and foster an environment where reading is celebrated and enjoyed and is part of the family’s daily routine.”   

Lilli Montague is an education expert at The Juice Learning (https://thejuicelearning.com/), an interactive learning platform that helps to instill a life-long love of reading in kids. The Juice Learning’s team of award-winning educators and journalists produce daily professional-grade content, overlaid on a technology platform designed to enhance reading development and engagement. Each article on The Juice is written at different reading levels so that content can be tailored to meet students where they are, regardless of ability – and as your reading skills progress, the Juice adjusts your reading level and grows with you.

By implementing these strategies, parents can help mitigate the effects of the summer slump and keep children and teens engaged in learning throughout the break.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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