Fighting the 'summer slide': Why your child should keep reading this summer


COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) - School's out for summer, but that doesn't mean it's time for your kids to hit the pause button. In fact, the lazy days of summer can create a problem. It's known as the "summer slide." When class is back in session, teachers often spend the first month reteaching what students learned the year before. Researchers say growing up in a home with 500 books can propel a child three years ahead in education.

But there are some things you can do to stop the slide. One family says having books within reach has made a world of difference. Anna Rupard and her sister Samantha Simpson have been bringing their kids to the library every Friday for two years, teaching them the value of reading at a very young age. They say the impact is clear.

"Teachers tell us they can tell when they've been reading constantly and when they've been slacking off. They enjoy reading and fly through books constantly. So, we have to come once a week in order to keep up with their needs," said Simpson.

Emily Johansson with the Richland Library says children can fall three grade levels if they skip reading in the summer. She says third grade is pivotal because students switch from learning to read, to reading to learn.

"Parents are their child's first and best teacher. So, just reading with the parent every day will do wonders for their children," said Johansson. "Reading does so many things. It introduces rare words. The more they read, they become more fluent readers. It gives them background knowledge and exposes them to worlds beyond their reach."

Rupard and Simpson say they're confident about instilling good habits in their children, ranging from 2 months to 11 years old.

To help fight the "summer slide," Richland Library has weekly events and a summer reading challenge. It also offers third grade reading classes every Tuesday night. To register, call Richland Library at 803-799-9084.

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