Combating the Summer Slide with Creative Literacy Activities

As the golden California sun promises endless days of adventure, it’s the perfect time to sprinkle a little learning magic into your child’s summer. Research shows that students can lose up to two months of reading skills over the summer. To combat learning loss this summer keep young minds active and imaginations soaring. These quick and easy science of reading-based activities are designed to seamlessly blend education with the sun-soaked bliss of summer.

So, grab your sunscreen and turn every day into an opportunity for discovery and growth, ensuring that when the school bell rings again, your child will return with a treasure trove of new words and worlds at their fingertips.

It’s Time to Rhyme: Start by reciting a list of words that rhyme, and then sneak in a word that doesn’t fit the rhyme scheme. When your child catches the odd one out, they can celebrate by doing a jumping jack, a push-up, or a toe touch. For a calmer variation, have your little one tiptoe quietly around the space and ‘freeze’ whenever a non-rhyming word is heard.

You can change this up by focusing on the beginning sound in words, having kids listen for the odd one out—sit, sun, six, map, sign.

This not only makes learning fun, but also encourages physical movement and listening skills.

Compound Creations: Goldfish. Pancake. Football. What do these words have in common? They’re all compound words made up of two smaller words. Read these words with your child and ask them to listen for the small words. To boost vocabulary, talk about the meaning of each small word and then the meaning of the compound word. Have your growing reader use the words in different sentences.

You can also have them draw a picture of the two smaller words—gold and fish—before drawing a picture of the compound word—goldfish. Try other words like cupcake, starfish, firefly, and handshake.

Get Artistic: Figurative language, such as similes and metaphors can be tricky. Authors use these comparisons to help readers form pictures in their minds.
   • The classroom was a zoo at recess.
   • My ideas are a fountain.
   • He’s as brave as a lion.
   • The moon sparkled like a shiny coin.

Have your reader illustrate these examples, and talk about why an author might use them. Look for more examples of figurative language the next time you read together.

Prefix Leap Frog: Write some prefixes—word parts that come at the beginning of a word—on the ground with chalk. Have your reader jump to each prefix, read it aloud, and name a word that begins with the prefix. Bonus points for defining the word or using it in a sentence! Here are some common prefixes to try:
   • Un- as in uncommon
   • Dis- as in disappear
   • Mis- as in mislead
   • Multi- as in multicolored
   • Non- as in nonstop
   • Re- as in reuse

Scavenger Hunt: Bulky. Peculiar. Flimsy. Encourage your reader to use describing words like these to help them focus on details and develop a rich vocabulary.

Talk about the meaning of each adjective, have your reader use it in a sentence, and brainstorm related words together. Then, send kids on a scavenger hunt for items that fit each description.

Super Sort: Words can be related to the same topic, but have different shades of meaning. Think of the words cool, warm, hot, and boiling. They can all describe water, but cover a range of temperatures. Create sets of word cards using words like these, and have your reader sort them across each spectrum. Talk about the subtle differences in meaning.
   • Dry, damp, soggy
   • Whisper, speak, shout
   • Limited, sufficient, abundant

Use these literacy activities to spark a love of reading and learning in your child that will shine brightly into the new school year. For more science of reading-based activities to do with your school-age kids, visit Lexia’s Summer Literacy Activities page. Here’s to a future filled with endless pages of adventure and discovery, until next summer’s tales unfold.

Visit and search “Summer Literacy” for more fun activities.

Summertime Reading Suggestions

Summer is here! While it’s easy to let good reading habits slip during summer, PJ Library—the non-profit that sends 240,000 free high-quality books to children across North America each month—offers these summer reading tips that’ll make it easy for you to integrate reading into your everyday summer schedule.

Whether it’s slipping books into the beach bags, taking advantage of the public library’s cool air conditioning, or taking the kids out for a reading picnic, there are many ways to make sure your family keeps reading all summer long:

1. Take Books With You: Toss books in your beach bag, your vacation carry-on, or in the stroller. On hot days at the park, encourage your child to take a minute enjoying some shade with a book of their choice. If you’re packing for a vacation, make a big deal out of selecting a special “vacation read” together with your child.

2. Read Aloud Together: Studies show that children whose parents read aloud to them have a leg up on literacy and reading comprehension. Feel free to read aloud to children of all ages—make silly voices, take turns, stop to answer questions your child might ask. You’ll have fun and you’ll be increasing your child’s vocabulary while reinforcing a love of reading and stories.

3. Go to the Library: Visit for free children’s programming at local libraries throughout the summer. Hit up a program at your local library, or take a break from the summer heat to visit the children’s section. If your child is old enough, sign them up for their very own library card. Encourage your child to make their own selections at the library from the varied media available such as books, CDs, DVDs, and games.

4. Let Kids Choose: Let your children pick out what they want to read. If your school has a summer reading list, make sure to give them some free choice materials as a reward for working through their list. Don’t shy away from unconventional reading materials like magazines or graphic novels either!

5. Make it Social: Join a summer reading challenge or a children’s book group—or start your own! This way you can build playdates and making new friends into your summer reading.

6: Have a Reading Picnic: Grab a blanket, a few friends, some tasty portable snacks, and a favorite stack of books. Find a nice place to sit and nosh on your treats while listening to stories or taking turns reading aloud together. Don’t forget your sunscreen and bug spray!

7. Make “Story Stones”: Collect some stones either from your backyard, a nature walk, or a trip to the beach. Decorate each individual stone by painting it, adding stickers, or drawing on it with markers. Once the stones are decorated, mix them up in a bag or a box and then use the randomly drawn stones to inspire stories. Players can each draw one stone and build on a story together, or a solo player can draw several random stones and improvise a story based on the images that they see.

8: Keep Count: Use a Summer Reading Journal to log and rate all the books your whole family reads this summer.  Keep it on the refrigerator to keep kids engaged, excited, and talking about summer reading!