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Beat the Heat and the Summer Slide

School's out for summer…but that doesn’t mean the learning should stop.

During the summer months, students risk losing 2-3 months of math and reading skills if they aren't engaged in learning. This is called "summer slide." Without books and computers in the home and the ability to afford high-quality summer camps, low-income income youth are at a greater risk for the summer slide than their peers. According to the National Summer Learning Association, summer learning loss in the elementary school years alone accounts for at least half of the ninth-grade reading achievement gap. 

But there's hope. The good news is that when high-quality summer learning programs are made available and when children have access to books, we can not only curb summer learning loss, we can even help boost student achievement. When children continue to learn during the summer, they are healthier, safer and smarter, and their schools and communities are more successful.

Want to help your child beat the heat and the summer slide? Here are some tips from First Book to help kids develop their literacy skills:

  • Reading is reading. Don’t be too picky about the type of reading material. Books, magazines, or comics are all legitimate options.

  • Don’t worry too much about the book being appropriately challenging. Summer is a perfect time to foster a lifelong love of reading and learning which might mean going back and re-reading old favorites or picking up a book to read just for fun.

  • Model the behavior you want to see. If you want your child to read in his or her leisure time, read in your leisure time.

  • Set aside a regular time for reading. This might be daily or a couple times a week. A child could read to an adult, an adult to a child, a child to a peer, or a child to a pet. (Yes really, a pet! Therapy dogs are trained to work with struggling readers.)

  • Ask questions. Try to foster both comprehension (e.g. Who is the main character?) and critical thinking (e.g. What do you think will happen next? Why?).

  • Show that it is okay to struggle. Illustrate what it is like to struggle with a challenging reading passage and how to overcome those challenges. Do you use context clues? Talk through your thinking. Do you look up a word? Show how to use the dictionary. It is important for children to know that reading, just like playing a sport, requires practice and learning.

There are tons of reading programs and events taking place in Lubbock this summer. Check out our Summer Reading Calendar to find opportunities for your children.