We’re in countdown mode over here with less than 6 weeks left of school before summer vacation begins. Notes about field trips, fun-lunch days, graduations and other events are being signed along with the cheques to go along with it.
Last week, I attended a family day for my youngest’s Kindergarten class, where a representative from the local library came in to read to the kids. There was a reason, I quickly learned, that parents were invited to attend. The representative gave parents a reminder about the “summer slide” and the importance of reading through the summer months. Have you heard of it? Having three kids in school, it’s a familiar term to me, but if it’s new to you as a parent it’s something you need to know about.
The summer slide is what happens when the skills children learn in the school year are lost or forgotten over the carefree summer vacation months. When kids don’t practice their learned skills in things like reading, math, problem solving and more, they are at risk of being behind when school picks up again in September. It makes sense – teachers assume that children start school in September with the skills they’ve walked out of the grade previous. But what happens when we have a summer slide? It means there’s more work to do for an already excited, nervous and sometimes stressed child at the start of the school year.
This is cause for concern, parents, but not something to freak out about. It’s May, and as long as we’re aware of the summer slide and work to keep skills sharp through the summer, we’re on task for successful school year start in the fall. Here are 4 ways you can help prevent the summer slide when it comes to reading:
- Make it fun: If you’re heading to the beach or on a road trip, pack some books with you. If you’re planning on visiting a specific destination or area, perhaps find some books about it locally or read online about it. Do fun word-searches with the kids on your adventures, or practice reading signs at the park. For younger kids, you can practice finding specific letters in the signs.
- Set goals: Sit down with your child and plan some summer reading goals so everyone is on the same page, pun intended! For older kids, perhaps set a goal on the novel series he or she wants to conquer this summer. Younger kids can set a goal with mom or dad to read 30 minutes per day, for example.
- Go the Library: Public libraries often have great summer programs for kids, and these are usually inexpensive or free. While you’re there, let your child pick out some new books – they’ll be more excited to crack open a book if he chose it himself.
- Be an example: Show your kids that reading is a priority and they will see it that way too. Ensure you’re getting your summer reading list done too!
On that note, I want to share some big news from McDonald’s for Canadian families that will also help work towards the goal of eliminating the summer slide with young children.
McDonald’s Canada has started giving children the choice of a book or a toy in the famous Happy Meal®. In partnership with Kids Can Press, the largest Canadian children’s book publisher, and First Book Canada, who provides access to new books for children in need, McDonald’s is helping to improve accessibility to books for children across the country and encourage families to spend more time reading together. Every eight weeks, two new books will be available in restaurant, in both English and French for families to enjoy
All Happy Meal books are written by Canadian authors, and include the following titles:
– Hurry Up, Franklin by Paulette Bourgeois
– Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach by Melanie Watt
– The Busy Beaver by Nicolas Oldland
– No Dragons For Tea by Jean E. Pendziwol
– Franklin’s Halloween by Paulette Bourgeois
– Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend by Melanie Watt
– Making the Moose Out of Life by Nicolas Oldland
– Once Upon a Dragon by Jean E. Pendziwol
– Scaredy Squirrel at Night by Melanie Watt
– Franklin’s Valentines by Paulette Bourgeois
– Big Bear Hug by Nicolas Oldland
– Franklin Plays the Game by Paulette Bourgeois
We’re so excited for Summer 2017 in our household, and if your kids have the wiggles and giggles and take a little longer going to sleep at night, I know you’re feeling it in your home too. Here’s to a summer filled with sunshine, sand between our toes, lots of laughter, and of course, reinforcing the love of reading and togetherness as well. OK, and sharing Chicken McNuggets with mom. Because that’s a rule in our household. 😉
*Disclosure: I was compensated for this post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.