Stopping the summer slide at your local library

Carol ChristiansenSpecial to the Daily

When I first heard the term “summer slide,” I figured it was something with a paper umbrella you might order at the Tiki Bar or that plastic sheet we used to lay on the grass with the hose running over it. But in the scholastic world, “summer slide” is a disappointing reality–the loss of reading skills that students experience over the summer break. “Motivating children to read throughout the year is essential to building lifelong readers,” says Carol H. Rasco, President and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental. “And reading is the doorway to all other learning.”Terry Bickell, Literacy Resource Specialist at Upper Blue Elementary, tells me that they test the students’ reading levels at the end of each school year and then again in the fall when school begins. She estimates that nearly 90 percent of the students show a drop in their reading level over the summer. Ninety percent! I think it’s safe to conclude that not enough reading is going on here. Let’s aim to change that.Excuses for kids not reading abound, but equally as many tips and resources exist to help parents keep their kids off the summer slide. Just Google “summer slide,” and it will bring up websites such as, which has an online summer reading challenge; kids can record the number of hours they read and thereby help set a world record. It also has a nifty app for your phone with a reading timer for keeping track of their summer reading minutes on the go! How cool is that? Students in the Summit School District are familiar with, an online reading program. Here you can find books by reading level and then read or listen to them online; quizzes and worksheets help with comprehension. Students are provided a log-in during the school year and have access during the summer. Need book suggestions for your child? Susan Arrance, the Library Information Specialist at the Summit Middle School, turned me on to I absolutely love this website. You can get suggestions and reviews for books, movies, games, music, apps, websites, and TV. I just look under “Reviews & Advice,” click on “books,” and then click on the age of my child. Voila! I have a list of age-appropriate books that have been rated by editors and parents and even kids themselves. Most of the studies on summer slide emphasize that it is important for parents to set an example. Be sure your children see you reading and enjoying it. Share something about what you are reading with your child, and ask them about what they are reading. Find a few minutes to sit down with your child on a daily basis and read something, whether it’s a book, magazine, newspaper, or your mail. The Summit Middle School and Upper Blue libraries will be open for a few hours each week over the summer. Check the School District website ( for updates on your local school and its library hours.How about free books for your kids? The Summit County Library is once again the fun place to be this summer. Summer Reading Programs are for kids from preschool through high school. They can earn prizes and FREE BOOKS just by reading. Teens even get to read for a chance to win a Kindle Fire! Special performances and storytimes show kids how much fun reading can be. Find the schedule online at It is a great summer to be a kid–especially a kid who reads! According to Mrs. Bickell, it can take anywhere from three months to the entire school year for students to get back to where they left off at the end of the previous year. Think about the potential growth that students could make in a school year if they could pick up right where they left off. And all it takes is a little summer reading! So grab a book, a blanket, and a beverage, and make it a day at the park for reading! (Just be sure to stay off the slide.)

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