How To Stop The Summer Slide

By Mary B. Hammock, MSN, CPNP

How To Stop The Summer Slide

Summers bring water parks and beach trips, picnics and barbecues, and hopefully, rest and relaxation. For children, it can also bring the “summer slide.” This is name given to the period of time that little brains sit idle in the summer. According to the National Summer Learning Association, “A conservative estimate of lost instructional time is approximately two months of the school year…It’s common for teachers to spend a least a month re-teaching” the forgotten material at the start of the next school year. Families are children’s most important teachers and there are some great ways to keep your children reading, and thus retaining, during the summer.

Read – Combine – Provide – Motivate

Read aloud to your children. Reading to an infant stimulates brain growth as the child listens, looks at the pictures and begins to turn the pages of board books. That brain growth continues for decades to come. The summer months provide extra time for read-alouds at the local library or special school functions. Read-alouds help stimulate the imagination and those themes will evolve into playtime. Once children are old enough to read for themselves, encourage them to read to you. This continues to strengthen interest and appreciation of reading.

Combine summer activities with book reading. Choose books about the beach or a baseball game. Discuss what you read about over the sand castle building or over hotdogs at the ballpark. Tell your child why you liked the book, what you learned from the book, or how the book helped you and then listen as they tell you the same.

plenty of reading material. Storybooks are great for young readers but informational material may spark interest in constellations, underwater sea animals or dinosaurs. Older readers may be interested in magazines and newspapers. Books that teach children how to make or do something will do wonders to break the boredom. A weekly trip to the library will keep reading materials fresh.

Motivate your children to be active readers. Leading by example helps teach children the “skill and will” to learn. Reading for enjoyment can get lost among the job-related reports and journal articles but when nearly half of all young adults are not reading for pleasure, it is imperative to turn off the television and curl up with a good book.

A Real Book Does Wonders

A recent study published in The Reading Teacher revealed findings that are suggestive the E-Books may not be the best way for young readers to read. It seems that the multitude of features may be interfering with the comprehension of the text. Certain flourishes, including creatures that emit noise and move around the screen or birds that flutter and sounds playing in the background, cause comprehension to fragment. E-books can also lead to less time reading overall. Another study cited that children spent 43% of their e-book engagement time playing games embedded within the e-books rather than reading the text. It is imperative to review E-books for the best reading opportunities for your children.

Learning Is Fun!

Children who do not read over the summer will hit that “summer slide” and lose up to two months of learning. You and your children need to keep reading this summer and keep the learning fun. So, grab a good book and take it along to the beach, the pool, and the picnic. Enjoy! Healthy Steps Pediatrics is helping to grow healthy children one step at a time. Call 678-384-3840 to schedule your children’s summer check-ups.