10 Ways to Avoid Summer Learning Loss

It's almost May, and now is the best time to start thinking about ways to keep our young kids learning through the summer. There is a TON of research showing how summer learning loss impacts our most fragile kids. Much of it comes down to access to books, so what can we do to plan for learning activities NOW to avoid the lack of access later?

Here are a few ideas to get us started:

1) Watch for books at yard sales. We all need to clear shelves for books that fit our kids' reading levels now, but books have long lives. They are perfect for younger kiddos, and often, the price is significantly less than in the stores.
2) Find out what's happening in your community. There may be affordable camps your child might enjoy attending including some offered by your school district.
3) Give books as gifts and save them for the summer.
4) Check out the Scholastic Book Orders. Each month, there are titles that are just $1 each.
5) Talk with other parents about doing book swaps. 

Make Reading Accessible

Speaking of how to get books, remember it's important to keep them in strategic places. If we surround kids with books, they see that reading is important. But be careful. You don't want to lose those library books. Overdue fines add up!

Work as a Team with Other Parents/Teachers

Parents, try chatting with other parents to make book club plans. If your kids enjoy getting together, one very fun activity is to do a summer book club. You can have meetings and let the kids read together and discuss parts as they go along. Fun snacks are a must with book club, and having a cozy place to meet helps too. 

It's also important to communicate with your child's teacher about book recommendations. Find out your child's current reading level and get lists of books around your child's reading range. We don't want to lock kids into a reading level, but it's also good to have at least an idea of what your child is currently enjoying and what books might be similar.

Model Reading 

If we want our kids to read, we should try to read ourselves. If your child sees you taking time to read a good book, they'll likely pick theirs up too. Be sure to turn off the tv and maybe add some soothing music. Again...make it cozy.

Surf the Net for Literacy Activities

There are reading apps and websites that offer literacy support too. Check out the link on our home page for a list of websites by level. But...be sure to limit screentime. 

Create a Must Read List

One of the best places to look for book ideas is a site called Good Reads. You can sign up for an account and find your friends to see what they are reading. There are book reviews for the books, and you can find books that are similar to ones you've read. Now is a good time to get lists started so that when you go to the library, you have an idea of what you'd like to borrow. 

Once you're at the library, the librarians often have book recommendation lists by genre, author, or theme. You can always ask them for help too.

Set Up Your Space for Reading

Do you have a quiet space that works well for reading? You might find some throw pillows or beanbag chairs to make a little reading nook for your little one. Add a bin for book storage and you're set. Pinterest has great ideas for cozy book nooks if you need a few more ideas. If we associate reading with things that feel good, our kids are more likely to enjoy reading.

Schedule It

With most parents working, it's tough to find time. Many libararies are open in the evenings to accommodate working parents. Check the schedule to find out which days are the late days. If it's tough to get there during the week, perhaps look at Saturday mornings. If you've got a good number of books, then you might be able to go less frequently. The key is to just put it on the calendar and stick to it. 

Beyond getting books, you'll also want to have a set reading time each day. Just 30 minutes makes a huge difference when your child returns to school in the fall.

Read on the Fringes

What are the fringe times? The fringe times are any time you have to wait...dinner time, waiting for the bus, waiting in a doctor's office, riding in the car, or waiting to fall asleep. Fringe times are the best times for reading. Having a book on hand at all times helps tremendously to keep calm while you wait and make good use of the time you have. Rather than hopping on your phone to play a mindless game, keep the books handy.

Share Enthusiasm about the Library

The librarians at the public library are special people who look forward to seeing the children all summer long. They plan fun themed activities, movie showings, programs, crafts, and more just to get the children in the door. They want books in the hands of kids, and if we share in the enthusiasm of what's planned and take advantage of all that's offered, our kids benefit greatly. 

So...revisit this list in the coming weeks, and best wishes in helping your child get off to a wonderful summer of learning versus the summer slide. 

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