Do you take steps to help your child avoid the summer slide? If not, don’t worry—according to Scholastic’s reading report, only 1 in 3 parents have learned of, read about, or received advice about the summer slide.

What is the Summer Slide?

The summer break may cause children to lose or forget months’ worth of the skills they have learned during the school year. It is important to keep the learning process going over the summer to avoid the summer slide so that your child will not fall behind.

The importance of reading during the summer is not overstated. Although the summer slide can affect all areas of learning, reading, and comprehension skills are the foundation of success on every subject. And the reading skills gained during the school year are quickly lost to children who don’t set aside time for summer reading.

Making sure that your child returns to school at the same level of reading he or she finished the school year needs some extra help from parents over the summer.

Why is it so important for Kids to read over the Summer?

Reading is one of the main predictors of a child’s level of understanding, range of vocabulary, and speed of reading. The more a student reads (whether during the summer or during the school year), the more chances he or she has to build and improve these skills.

So, what happens when students over the summer break do not put enough reading time in? Children without a summer reading routine may lose one to three months of reading skills they spent learning the previous school year. This loss is a long-term, cumulative loss — once students lose the ability to read through the summer, they rarely catch up. That can add up to more than 3 years of missed reading skills by the end of Grade 5, leaving students struggling to do well in the classroom.

Taking an active part in summer reading reduces the risk of loss of summer learning. It also helps children develop better literacy habits. They learn to be more excited about reading as the students develop better habits. They tend to see it as a fun task, rather than just another assignment to learn. When reading is a fun summer activity, your child can improve reading, comprehension, and vocabulary skills, without even realizing it.

The Benefits of Summer Reading

Continuing reading during the summer months offers students an opportunity to engage their minds and develop their skills. In reality, kids reading more than four books during the summer do better on comprehension tests than students reading one or no books.

How to get Kids to read over the Summer

Reading books over the summer also help to prepare students for the school year to come. By ensuring that their minds are engaged even after the school year is over, students give their brain the workout it needs to remain in shape. When it’s time in September to go back to the classroom, avid summer readers will have the skills they need to come ready to learn.

With endless summer activities calling, many parents can have a challenge getting their children to pick up a book and practice their reading skills. Through integrating reading opportunities into every summer vacation, you will inspire your child to read more — and have fun doing so.

Getting your child to read doesn’t have to be impossible. Try these 10 ways to encourage your child to read over the summer.

1. Find a topic your Child Enjoys

Summer is the best time for your child to enjoy reading something that makes reading less of a chore and more of an enjoyable experience. Help your kid find books that are related to his or her interest — whether it’s sports, animals, mystery, or anything else.

2. Incorporate Reading into Everyday Activities

Reading is all around us, and everyday activities provide great opportunities for reading. Have your child read the recipe when you are working while you’re in the kitchen cooking. Plan a day trip, and ask your child to read the directions for you. Make the most of the opportunities that pop up during the day of your child, no matter how small.

3. Listen to Audiobooks

Audiobooks are an excellent alternative to reading for children who are auditory learners and can help them improve their comprehension skills. If your child enjoys audiobooks, then always encourage him or her to sit down at least a few times a week with a book (even a short one).

4. Get a Library Card

Take a ride to the local library and sign up for a library card for your kids. Libraries have a large range of books your child will be able to browse to find one he or she wants. And as an added bonus, your child will keep coming back as many times as he or she wants to for a new book.

5. Plan a trip to the Bookstore

Visit a bookstore with your child and let him or her pick a book as a special treat. Letting your child pick a book that he or she wants is going to get him or her excited about getting home and start reading their new book.

6. Read Aloud

Take time to sit down together with your child and read it aloud. Take a few minutes each day to read a part of a book, or find a story to read together in the newspaper. For older students, let them read on their own and ask them to tell you about their favorite part of what has happened in the book.

7. Start a Book Club

Help him or her build a reading list until you know what kinds of books your child is interested in. Set aside a daily time (like once a week) to sit down together and chat about what’s happening in the novel. Tell questions like what your child feels is going to happen next and its favorite pieces.

8. Read books before you watch the Movie

Find a book your child will be interested in watching that was made into a movie and read the book first. After your kid read the novel, watch the movie and think about how different they are, what your kid liked, and what he or she didn’t like.

9. Start a new Book Series

Help your child find a collection of books he or she’ll enjoy. Getting several books that keep a story going is a perfect way to keep your child engaged in reading over the summer. You do not have to think about what to read next, either. Once your child gets involved in the story and the characters, he or she will be excited to read the series’ next book.

10. Read Graphic Novels or Comics

Consider reading graphic novels or comics, if your child is more of a visual reader. Those are much more visual but still give children a fair chance to learn. Comics are a great way for children to have fun reading so they will build their reading skills without even knowing it.