Summer Reading

Did you know?

During the summer months, students often lose 2-3 months of the reading skills they’ve gained during the school year. This summer learning loss – known as “summer slide” – can be a major reason why children read below grade level as they get older.

You can help!

Here are some of our favorite ways to prevent the summer slide:

Explore your local library | Enroll at a quality summer campActive ReadingPlay literacy rich games

Explore your local library with the Summer of Wonder.

Studies have shown that regardless of previous achievement, children who read six or more books over the summer do better on reading tests in the fall than those who read one or no books.

  1. For children and teens, a summer at the library forms a bridge between grade levels so that learning doesn’t stop when the weather heats up. Visit the library or participate online for a summer full of fun books and activities. After a Summer of Wonder, students will return to school excited to learn and ready for the school year.
  2. Get a library card for you or your child card online, in person, or through the mail. You can find written instructions here, and an instructional video here. 
  3. Use that library card at any of 54 library branches across the city of Philadelphia. You can find a list of all locations and hours here.
  4. Check out books. Children age 12 and up can check out as many as 50 items at a time (books, cds, dvds, etc…). Children 11 and below can check out as many as 20 items at time. Fines are not charged for late children’s materials checked out on a children’s library card. Most items can be checked out for a three week period.

If you have any questions or concerns, call 215-686-5322 to reach the library’s help desk.

Enroll at a quality summer camp.

Strong summer programs reverse the summer slide, make reading gains, and give low-performing students the chance to master material that they did not learn during the previous school year.

Use the After School Activities Partnerships directory to find the right camp for you. You can search by activity type, language used at camp, ages served, Child Care Subsidy eligibility, and if transportation is provided. Click on “site details” to learn more about the camp. If you think the camp would be a good fit, or want to learn more about it before you decide, you can use the information provided in the directory to call, visit, or check out their website.

Build vocabulary by incorporating reading and writing into everyday activities.

The everyday conversations you have with children matter! Do your best to show them new things, and teach them new words. Then, practice Active reading by asking questions, building vocabulary, and making connections.

Here’s some ways to turn everyday moments into teachable moments!

  • Have your child create a grocery list, find things in the grocery store, and read the recipe aloud during cooking time.
  • Go for a walk around your neighborhood. Ask your child to write down interesting things that they see. At bedtime, have your child tell you a story based on your neighborhood walk. When going for a walk you can also ask your child to help you figure out the directions.
  • Enjoy the summer weather at a park! Talk to your child about what they like to do at the park. Have them write it down. As you return home, have your child read it back to you. The more you go to the park, the more notes you can have to create a scrapbook of the vocabulary of new words your child uses each time! If you’re looking for a park around you, use the parks and recreation finder!
  • Watch a play! Have your child write out a play they want to act out. Then watch them put on a play!

Play literacy rich games.

Playing games is a great way to provide additional practice with early reading skills and help young readers practice word recognition, spelling patterns, and letter-sounds!

Games can help your child learn new words! Where to play? Many of our libraries have literacy game nights, as do our parks and recreation sites. Look at this listing for board game nights at a library near you, and this listing for board game nights at a parks and rec center near you. What to play?

  • Scrabble: Scrabble is a great game to not only build your child’s vocabulary and critical thinking skills, but to also help your child practice math.
  • Apples to Apples Junior: Apples to Apples Junior is a word association game in where players match cards that have a descriptive word on them (words like kind, cool, and bold) to one card that contains a name of a person, place, thing, or event (words like Car, Dog, and Mom). This is great for building vocabulary.
  • Boggle Junior: Specifically designed for preschool children, this game helps them learn spelling and vocabulary!
  • Boggle: This game is like scrabble, but is faster, and asks players to try to make different words out of the same pool of letters.