Summer Slide – Don’t let Summer Reading Loss happen to your family

Posted by Tara, Ziptivity’s Metro Boston Community Ambassador

Summer is almost here, and I’m starting to freak out. No, not about what to do with my kids all summer – Ziptivity has me covered in that area. The problem is Summer Reading Loss! I know you’ve heard of this phenomenon:  when kids aren’t in school all summer, their reading skills take a dive. It’s also called Summer Slide.

I never had to worry about this before – my older child has been reading well beyond grade level since Kindergarten, and we’ve always had to beg her to put the book down and go outside to play. With my younger one, it’s the opposite. Until recently, he has expressed no interest in reading. He’s just starting to really learn to read now, and he has made so much progress this year, I can’t stand the thought of his reading skills stagnating – or worse, backsliding.

So, I decided to do some research.  (Yes, I know I’m high-strung.) I found some wonderful programs and resources that I just had to share, in case you’re freaking out, too:

The Reading Rockets website provides terrific ideas for preventing summer reading loss. Check out their summer reading lists, which include ballpark and beach themes.

If you need convincing, visit the Collaborative Summer Library Program website and read the articles about the benefits of summer reading.

If it’s your kid who needs convincing, maybe Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek will be persuasive enough through the Red Sox Summer Reading Game.  Kids enrolled in grades K-8 who pledge to read nine books (one for each position on the baseball field) are entered into a drawing for prizes. Entry forms will be distributed in schools or they can be downloaded and they must be submitted by July 15th. Student winners and their teachers are awarded pairs of tickets to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. In addition to tickets, the five grand prize winners receive bookstore gift cards and baseballs autographed by Jason Varitek. They also get to participate in an on-the-field recognition ceremony!

For kids who are too young for the Red Sox summer reading program, try the Tadpole Playground Summer Celebrity Reading Series. The summer-long series of reading events features a different storyteller each week, and is geared toward kids between the ages of three and six.  The events are free, plus children in attendance will receive prizes courtesy of Highland Street Foundation and books courtesy of ReadBoston. The dates are July 7th, July 14th, July 21st, July 28th, August 4th, August 11th, and August 18th. All readings begin at 11 a.m., and every event has a rain date scheduled for the Friday immediately following, also at 11 a.m.

Finally, don’t forget your local library. Most public libraries sponsor some kind of summer reading program. Many go with the theme chosen by the Collaborative Summer Library Program. This summer, it is “One World, Many Stories”. After scouring the local library websites for their programs, I have chosen a favorite: Newton Free Library. They are going green this year with online reading logs and book reviews, and they will give a prize for every ten reviews a child submits. The program runs from June 22nd to August 22nd, with an end-of-summer ice cream party on August 17th, where the reading program participants will get a certificate and a book bag. Sweet!

And here’s a real bonus: kids can choose to participate in the library’s reading for charity program, Readers Reach Out. For every five hours of reading, children will earn one “greenbuck” to support Newton’s Green Decade, a group dedicated to finding sustainable solutions for the 21st century. What could be better? Summer reading program theme tie-in events, that’s what! In the vein of “One World, Many Stories”, Newton Free Library is offering programs about world cultures, fairy tales, folklore and fables, as well as a multicultural music celebration, “Under One Sky”. To see the event details, do a search for “Newton Library” on Ziptivity.

Knowing that I have all these resources to back me up this summer, I’m feeling a little less panicked. The kid will be alright (and so will I).

One more thing: I want to give a big shout-out to the teachers and librarians who teach and inspire kids to read every day. You rock!



From ZipNews this week, here are my “Top Metro Boston ZipPicks” for this weekend: (Subscribe to ZipNews here!)




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