Reading and learning
— make it part of the summer fun!

By Elizabeth Nicolai

As the classic “schools out” song says, “No more pencils, no more books… .” For most children and parents, the start of summer vacation is a much-anticipated break from school, routine and structure. Unfortunately, too often, this break from books and structured learning can have detrimental effects.

Kids who don’t read during the school break are at risk for “summer slide,” where they lose progress in reading and other academic skills. Research shows that students without access to summer learning opportunities can lose two to three month’s worth of reading progress. Up to two-thirds of the achievement gap in 9th grade can be traced back to summer learning loss in elementary school.

However, none of this means setting up a mini school in your living room. Summer is the time to remind your children just how fun learning can be. Encourage them to follow their passions while they read about, learn about, and explore the world around them.

Here are some great tips of fun activities to encourage reading and learning all summer long!

Cook Together

Try out a new recipe or share a family favorite together. Cooking encourages a number of important skills:

Take an Exploration Walk

Take a family walk around your neighborhood, your local trail, or even out into the wilderness. Talk about what you see and discover.

Capturing Stories

While everyone loves to read stories, it is even more fun to tell your own stories. Writing stories builds literacy skills such as narrative skills and writing. It also helps improve long-term memory.

Visit the Library

Look for a book or DVD, use the computer, or attend one of many weekly programs for children and families over the summer. Everyone can sign up for a summer program that gives prizes (like free books) for reading and other learning activities. Even if you can not make it into the building, some libraries have free downloadable books, music, shows and more on their websites!

Other Fun Activities
Favorite Resources for More Fun Activities
Elizabeth Nicolai is the Youth Services Coordinator at the Anchorage Public Library.