Now that most schools are officially out, out, many parents worry that their kids will suffer from what experts call ‘summer slide.’ Summer Slide is when kids fall behind in reading skills due to summer break. 

According to the U.S. Department of Education, students can lose as much as two to three months of academic progress if they don’t stay engaged in their learning, making it crucial for parents to take an active role in working with their children.

From local reading challenges and free storytimes to podcasts, here are some tips to set your child up for a successful summer of reading:

  1. Participate in a Library Reading Challenge: Most public libraries offer summer reading challenges where kids can sign up to read selected books for their age group. Many also host book discussions and accompanying activities related to themes from the books to keep up the excitement among kids. Often times, kids who participate in these programs can earn stickers in a special program book. Check with your public library for a program near you.  
  2. Sign Up for Incentive Programs: Does your kiddo need a little extra incentive to practice their reading skills? Lucky for them, there are several national programs that offer just enough freebies to get your little bookworm making reading a habit that they’ll grow to enjoy. Programs include Chuck E. Cheese Reading Rewards (free tokens), Meatheads Voracious Readers (free burgers), Pizza Hut Book It (free pizza) and Six Flags Read To Succeed (free theme park tickets).  
  3. Join a Bookstore’s Summer Reading Program: Did you know your kids can earn free books and prizes when they commit to reading? At Barnes & Noble, kids can earn a free book after they read eight books and log them on the reading sheet. Children who read any four books from the suggested reading list provided by Books-a-Million will receive a free “Diary of a Whimpy Kid” drawstring backpack. At Half Price Books, little ones who log 300 minutes of reading are eligible for ‘Bookworm Bucks’ that can be used to purchase children’s books. Through Scholastic’s Read-a-Palooza, kids who read can unlock digital rewards. As more kids log reading and hit goals, Scholastic will also donate to local organizations in need of books.
  4. Take Them to a Little Free Library: Little free libraries, small collections of books placed around communities that residents can take for free, as well as leave books of their own for the next person to take, are growing in popularity. Take your child to one nearest you to uncover new books!  
  5. Attend Free Storytimes and Book Readings: Many local libraries and book stores offer free storytime events. This is a great opportunity for kids to hear a story and many times, engage with the local authors who wrote them. Barnes & Noble, for example, hosts a free national storytime every Saturday morning at 11 a.m.  No storytime is the same, as the books rotate weekly.  
  6. Read a Few Books Yourself: Children take cues from their parents, so it is important to let them see you reading. Often times, reading can seem like a chore for young readers, making it essential for little ones see their parents or caregivers reading as a means of enjoyment.  
  7. Listen to a Children’s Book Podcast with Your Child: There are so many children’s book podcasts out there, each with a different focus. Make it a habit to pick one or two podcasts and listen to them with your child. BookRiot recently named these podcasts some of the best in children’s content.  
  8. Stock Your Child’s Bookshelf with a Few New Books: Investing in some new books for kids can spark their imagination and let them learn about new, exciting and timely topics.  Plus, since they chose the book, they’ll be much more excited to start reading.

 

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