How To Avoid “Summer Slide” – Tips From Local Reading Teachers


It’s summertime!!!  That means time for swimming, splash pads, adventures…and…READING.  Yes, you read that right.  Reading.  Here’s the deal – the term “Summer slide” is a real thing, which is actually why some states and districts opt for year round schooling.  

Summer slide refers to the loss of reading gains that occur over the 8 weeks of summer.

I’m a busy mom too, and I’m all about summer FUN and taking a much needed break. However, as a reading coach and teacher I can’t forget about all of the academic successes that take a big hit over this break.  The good news is – it doesn’t take setting up a whole classroom inside your home to beat the summer slide!

According to and Florida Students Achieve, students who read at least 20 minutes a day or 6 books over the summer break, do not suffer academic losses.

I gathered my fellow reading teachers, and we came up with a few ideas to help you incorporate learning this summer without losing the fun!  *Hint* – it does NOT include worksheets!  

Here’s what we came up with:

1 – Join a summer reading program at your local library.  

I can’t say enough about our incredible library system!  The great thing about the summer reading programs are:  they’re free, they offer incentives (FREE Roger Dean tickets – yes please!), they’re differentiated by ages, and they keep kids focused on a goal.  I put my son’s reading chart on the fridge and when he is “bored” we pick something from the chart to work on.  So essentially I kill two birds with one stone – we’re learning and beating boredom.  

*BONUS* log on to ABC mouse for FREE at your local branch!

2 – “Scrapbook” your daily adventures 

Then write and read about them!  So to be honest, I use the term scrapbook extremely loosely.  I buy a few disposable cameras (yes, they still make them) and we bring them with us on our daily adventures.  (I think my son loves being behind the camera after my constant, “smile for me real quick!”)  After developing the photos, we glue them into a blank notebook and I help him formulate sentences to go along with what the picture shows.  This is a great way for primary students to practice sentence structure and adding details to their writing!

3 – Create a daily, designated quiet time and space for your child to read.

The first step is to find engaging books that your child is excited to read (see PBC suggested summer reading list by grade level).  You don’t need fancy lesson plans to work on reading, BUT – you do need a time and a place.  Turn off electronics, set a timer, grab a blanket, and just…read.  My son builds a “reading fort” then we set the timer and get to reading, both of us!  Twenty minutes for K-2, thirty minutes for 3rd grade and above.  

*BONUS* I always keep 1 book in the car and we try to find ways to read outdoors once a week.  Park, beach, you name it!  

4 – Use a communication journal with your child to practice writing skills.  

Fourth grade language arts teacher, Jocelyn DiPinto shares, “instead of regular journal writing, my daughters write about their day, but also leave me open ended questions.  I write back and we keep the communication going.  It’s more exciting then basic journal writing.  They want to see what I write back!”  

5 – Write letters to relatives or friends.  

YES – I’m referring to snail mail.  Gasp!  Target dollar section has a pack of 8 cards for $1.  Pick 8 people to write to and work on one card each week.  This is a great way to sneak in a refresher on capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.  And ask for a letter back!  Instagram comments are cool and all…but so is a letter in the mail.  I promise!

6 – Freshen up on typing skills with (free!).

 I know everyone is trying to limit electronics over summer, but hear me out.  Many assignments and assessments are now computer based.  While I know our kiddos grow up exposed to lots of technology, how many have actually learned how to type?  The more comfortable they are with typing, the more inclined they will be to easily complete assignments. Thats a win-win!


Join the conversation!  Leave us your best tips, websites, resources, and/or ideas for preventing summer slide.  




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Melissa Emmons
Melissa is a native Florida girl, originally from Boca Raton. She is the proud wife of a firefighter and mother to Jackson (3) and Juliet (1). She admits there are challenges, but enjoys balancing the busy yet exciting life of a firefighter wife, part-time teacher, and full-time mama of two. She loves writing, discount shopping (maxxinista mama!), trying new fitness classes, COFFEE, reality TV, going on adventures with her family, exploring new places in PBC, AND all things beauty (can you ever have enough lipstick?). Melissa is passionate about supporting fellow mamas and showing them how to “map out their month” to make the most of their precious family time, which combines her two favorite things – planners and family! Melissa’s ultimate dream is to be a published author. Keep up with Melissa on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest and read her favorite articles about motherhood, affordable style, party planning, and organizing, plus her latest discount finds!