Prevent the Summer Slide: Getting Your Child to Read More

child read more

Hospitality Health ER encourages parents to keep kids active over the summer, but no one wants kiddos to fall into the summer slide. The “summer slide” isn’t what it sounds like—you won’t find it at a water park or a playground. Instead, it’s the significant decrease in reading skills students experience after taking the summer off from books. Just like an athlete who gets rusty after a three month break from practice, kids who take the summer off from reading must play a game of catch up when they return to school in the fall. So, before we discuss how you get your child to read more, let’s first take a look at the benefits.

According to, children who read four or more books over the summer perform better on reading comprehension tests come September than peers who read one or no books. In fact, based on the findings of a recent three-year study by Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, students who took part in a summer reading program were 52 Lexile points ahead of peers who did not. Scholastic also noted that teachers typically spend between 4 to 6 weeks re-teaching material students have forgotten over the summer. 

How Do I Get My Child to Read More?

Here’s some helpful advice from fellow parents and doctors at Hospitality Health ER:

  • Become a reading role model so you can pass down your love of reading to your kids.
  • Set aside a family reading day to establish a new tradition centered around learning and reading. Keep it fun by reading round robin style, play vocabulary games with books as prizes, and make up your own stories together.
  • Have a large book collection at home so your kids can see how much you value books. Try to place more value on books over toys and video games.
  • Let your child pick out a book they like. Ninety two percent of kids are more likely to finish a book they chose.
  • Take turns reading aloud with your child and then discuss what you’ve read to help your child’s comprehension. This is also a great way to spend time together.
  • Offer incentives for reading more. For example, if your child spends an hour a day reading, they can select an activity of their choice or stay up a little later.
  • Make reading ‘special’ by setting aside a weekly library day. Once or twice a month, you may want to vary this up with a visit to the bookstore to pick out a “forever” book for home. For summer reading programs, visit Longview or Tyler Public Library
  • Read wherever you go. To get your child to read more, you don’t have to stick to books. Use your cellphones to take advantage of reading opportunities. Play a game and have everyone in the car guess facts like, “What is the biggest city in the United States?” Then have someone read the correct answer. Even when you’re at the grocery store, have them read the ingredients and cooking instructions of the foods you place in your basket.

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