7 Ways To Minimize Reading Regression Over The Summer

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Most teachers have heard about the “summer slide”, or the reading regression that many students experience over the summer. Research has shown that children who don’t read over the summer lose about 20% of their school year gains in reading!

Young kids and children from low-income families are disproportionately affected by the summer slide so it’s crucial to keep these kids reading over the summer.

I’m sharing 7 easy ways to get kids to read over the summer so they don’t lose any of their reading skills, and can actually gain some!

summer slide reading regression - teacher with students

Join a book club

Many public libraries and local Facebook groups host free book clubs for all ages. Find a local one, or join a virtual book club if you prefer. There are even book club classes on Outschool that are pretty affordable. Having someone else to talk about the book helps motivate some readers, especially if they’re very social.

Add flashcards to board games

Create a stack of flashcards to use with any board game. On a turn, the player makes their move then picks up a flashcard. You can have them read the word and write it, or any other reading type of activity you’d like.

You can use letter cards, write your own words based on a spelling list or sight words, or read a paragraph from a book instead.

Try audiobooks or podcasts

Yes, listening to books and stories counts too! These develop comprehension skills and are especially helpful for struggling readers who may not be able to decode books at their interest level.

Check out some of these audio resources:

Plan to watch movies based on books

Plan out a few summer movie nights and have your kids read the book first. You can read it aloud to them if it’s above their reading level, or use an audiobook if you’re too busy for that. Then watch the movie and compare.

I like to make it a big deal and do a special movie night for these. We have pizza, root beer floats, and popcorn and my daughter gets to stay up a little later.

Below are a few ideas:

  • Shrek
  • Harriet The Spy
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret
  • The Story of Ferdinand
  • Tuck Everlasting
  • Wonder
  • Bridge to Terabithia
  • Mary Poppins
  • The Tale of Despereaux
  • Matilda
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • Home
  • A Wrinkle in Time
  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks
  • The Great Gilly Hopkins
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • Ramona and Beezus
  • The Lightening Thief
summer reading - girl reading on the grass

Pick a theme for kids to read about

Let kids pick a summer theme and find a variety of reading materials based on that theme. These can be magazines, comics, flyers, books, anything with print! It really doesn’t matter what kids read just that they DO read. It also doesn’t need to be at their level so don’t worry if they pick ‘easy’ books (but don’t let them pick hard books).

If you have several kids you can all vote on one theme and teach each other what you learned about it throughout the summer.

Create a family book challenge

Create a challenge that motivates your kids to read over the summer. You can do it for just your kid(s) or include yourself and other family members. I like to do a 5 book challenge and the person who reaches 5 books first wins. The prize is usually an experience, like a beach day with a visit to a special ice cream shop or something that we don’t do often that is fun for my daughter and can be a treat.

Read something every day

Have a rule that everyone has to read something every day. This can be the newspaper, magazine, blog, book, or recipe – anything counts!


Keeping children reading over the summer doesn’t have to involve tutors, classes, or a lot of fuss! Pick and choose a few of these options that work for you and just make sure your child is actually reading.

If you’re looking for more tips for struggling readers, check out these other posts:

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