Simple Steps To Help Students Avoid the Summer Slide

By Tracy Mercier for

Will your students have 6 minutes available in their day over the summer? That’s all it takes each day to make a struggling reader into a proficient one, according to research from Renaissance: just 6 extra minutes of reading a day.

While that is an average difference, all of that additional reading adds up. Over time, reading increases a student’s vocabulary, comprehension, language skills, attention, and creativity. Combined, these skills are crucial for children to be successful.

Renaissance also points out that students who do not read at grade level typically read less than 15 minutes per day. Outside of specific learning or reading disabilities, this daily lack of reading causes a learning gap and contributes to worsening inequities in learning outcomes. According to the Atlantic, “student-achievement gaps by race and socioeconomic status widened in reading” throughout the pandemic.

Most reading experts suggest at least 20 minutes of reading per day. Those students who commit to even this minimum daily activity see an increase in reading achievement.

Those 6 additional minutes of reading per day make a difference for children. Their ability to read fluently and comprehend what they read determines whether a child receives reading intervention, graduates on schedule, and the likelihood of them attending college.

Encouraging Children and Families to Read More, Anywhere and Anytime

Finding the time, and even the place, for families to read every day can be a unique challenge, especially over the summer when routines are interrupted with vacations and the like. Encouraging parents and caregivers to expect and plan for this will benefit your students in the long run.

Acclaimed author Stephen King reminds us that physical books are the answer, saying: “Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

Books can go wherever we go, making it easy for our children to read anywhere, at any time, with anyone. They can read while eating a snack, in the car, at the park, indoors on a rainy day, with a friend, to a pet, via video call with a grandparent or alone. If your students and families do not have physical books in their homes, encourage them to take a family trip to the local library.

Read more here.

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