By Cathleen Cullen

A Mountains Branch Library reader

What is the summer slide? The summer slide happens when children do not read or have access to books over the summer. When the child goes back to school, the effect of the summer slide is clear. The child’s reading proficiency has slid and he/she may struggle to read on grade level in the fall. Over time, this can cause a child to fall several years behind their expected reading level. You work hard to support your child’s education throughout the school year and providing books throughout the summer is a great way to keep it up. Here are some more ideas to promote summer reading and prevent the summer slide.


  1. Visit your local library!! The library not only has books, but engaging activities to keep children interested in learning and reading. While at the library, you can find many books that interest your child. They may even find some, too! If they find a book that is too hard to read, it could be read aloud. Even older kids benefit from being read to! Chosen books that are too easy for them to read are great for practice in reading comprehension. After your child reads a book that is “easy”, ask them questions about the story line. When children engage in books that are just right, it will help them become better readers and stay on or above grade level. Don’t forget to join the Mountain Branch Library’s summer reading program and children can earn incentives for the time they read.


  1. Read at least 20 minutes a day!! Even just this short amount of can be so beneficial. Have books accessible as much as possible. Remember the 5 B’s of where to keep books:

Breakfast table – Read the back of the cereal box, or keep a few kid magazines at the table to look at while having breakfast.

Back Seat – Keep books in the car for those trips back and forth to camp or for a long ride to a vacation spot.

Baskets – Having baskets of books throughout the house will encourage more reading as books will always be visible.

Bathroom – This is a great spot for a basket of books, magazines, or other reading material.

Bed – Make it a routine to read to your child each night no matter how old. When you are done reading, give them a few extra minutes to read to themselves before heading to bed.

  1. Get out in the world! Summer is a great time to learn more about life! When you know more, it is easier to read. Every experience we have, every memory we make, every person we meet, contributes to our children’s ability to understand words and their meanings. Expose your children to the world as often as you can by going to museums, parks, hike in the woods, visit different states, introduce your children to people from cultures different than yours, and expand your child’s horizons by volunteering. There are so many ways to build your child’s general knowledge about the world around them without spending a dime.