It’s summer and the living is easy. With so many things for kids to do, reading sometimes takes a back seat. This can impact reading skills when school resumes in the fall. There’s even a term for the phenomenon: ‘summer slide’ – the loss of skills during the time students are away from school. Taken over several years, summer slide exacts heavy tolls as affected students fall progressively farther behind their classmates in reading achievement.
Fortunately, there is a remedy. An online publication by the Colorado State Library cites this hopeful statistic: Reading just 4 to 6 books over the summer has the potential to prevent a decline in reading.
Simple? Maybe. Getting some kids to read amid the distractions of summer can be a challenge. The same Colorado publication offers strategies parents can use to encourage reluctant readers: set aside family reading time; let kids make their own choices; visit the library together etc.
Here’s one I didn’t see there, though: Participate in a summer reading program or reading contest. There are a number out there, and even some online versions where kids chart the books they read and chat to other readers about them.
With the TD Summer Reading Club, for example, kids across Canada can take part through local public libraries as well as at home and online. .
Scholastic Canada, one of my publishers, offers a similar initiative with their Happy Camper Program.
Another of my publishers, Rebelight, is running Summer Reading Challenge. Admittedly, I have a vested interest in this one because my novel Missing in Paradise is on the selection list. But blatant self-promotion aside, this is a wonderful opportunity for readers to discover exciting new books while simultaneously combating the ills of summer slide.
The rules for the Summer Reading Challenge are simple. Kids read a young adult or middle grade novel published by Rebelight, then post a short review on social media. Each review yields a draw for great prizes. The more books read, the greater the draw possibilities. Full details are on Rebelight’s website, but hurry. The contest ends on August 31, 2017.