Beat the Summer Slide: Reading lists, activities, events and more!


With the school year coming to a close, you may be hearing a lot about the summer slide. So, just what is it? Well, while it might sound like a fun summer activity, in education circles it refers to the phenomena that occurs when students, especially those from low-income families, lose the academic gains they made during the school year.  The good news is there are proven ways to stem the slide by participating in fun, enriching, activities throughout the summer–and that includes reading great books! We’ve carefully curated a resource to help teachers, parents, guardians, and students to beat the summer slide while on a reading adventure that is sure to ignite the imagination.

Diverse and Inclusive Reads:

Are you looking for books to add to your summer reading list that are written or illustrated by Native Americans or people of color? Ones that include characters who are Native? People of color? People with disabilities? LGBTQ? Sara Sterner, a PhD student studying children’s and adolescent literature at the University of Minnesota encourages readers to take a look at the We Are the People summer reading list for ALL children. This curated list has been compiled by librarians, authors, educators, and scholars who write, study, and promote inclusive children’s literature.

The New York Public Library has done an amazing job compiling a list of awesome YA list book lists and trailers! From contemporary realistic fiction to science fiction graphic novels, you’re sure to find a book (or a dozen) to read this summer!

Love Graphic Novels? How about strong female characters? If so, check out “Exploring Girl Power in Multicultural Graphic Novels” for a collection of must-read books!

From activists and entertainers to courageous youngsters and track stars, you’ll find stories that inspire in this list of powerful and poignant African American stories.

Fans of science fiction will find some out-of-this world recommendations from Emily Midkiff, including books that feature girls and people of color in science! As a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota, her scholarship focuses on science fiction in children’s literature so she’s a pro at selecting the best books for young sci fi enthusiasts.

Read Alouds:

Looking for some fun and vibrant read alouds to take along on outdoor adventures, summer picnics, and family road trips? Check out these engaging picture book titles recommended by Samantha Cronin, a future elementary education teacher from the University of Minnesota!collage



Nora Waaraniemi, book-lover and Early Childhood/Elementary Education student at the University of Minnesota shares her picks of exciting stories for readers at every level.

Picture Books: Reading with your child is a great way to bond and to promote a love of reading. Most children love being read to! Here are a few engaging Picture Books for you to enjoy with readers of all ages.

Early Readers: Humor is a great way to engage children that are really starting to learn how to read independently. Here is an Early Reader series that does just that! Your child will love picking up on the subtle differences in the way Amelia Bedelia understands sentences and word structure in the English language.

YA novels: Older elementary school and middle school aged children have an enormous array of literature available to them. Here are three novels for this age range that present different points in history in different ways, and will likely even engage children who are not typically interested in history.

Events * Activities * Programs:

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge! This resource provides resources to teachers, parents, and community partners for their classes and reading groups. The fun begins Monday, May 8th! (registration required)

Book Adventure: This free summer reading program sponsored by Sylvan Learning has been active since 1999. The program offers a book finder program, fun quizzes, resources, and more!

Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program: This bookstore sponsored program offers opportunities for students in grades 1-6 to earn free books!

Summer Reading Activity Calendars: No Time for Flashcards is a wonderful resource for parents and teachers alike. You’ll find their activity calendars full of ideas to engage your readers all summer long.

Bookworm Wednesdays from Showcase Cinemas: This cinematic powerhouse gets it! Reading matters! Their program offers free admission for readers which can be a fun motivator!

Check out Reading Rockets new summer reading project, Start with a Book! You’ll find readings lists, resources, activities and more!

This year’s National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang’s platform is Reading Without Walls. Young readers will be inspired by this challenge to “explore the world through books.” Learn more, check out resources, watch the podcasts, and take the challenge!

Sync: Is a FREE audiobook program for teens ages 13+! Teens can listen to everything from classics to contemporary best sellers! Sign up begins April 27, 2017.

Articles: The following articles provide even more strategies and tips for helping your readers avoid the summer slide!

Contributors: Emily Midkiff, Sara Sterner, Samantha Cronin, Nora Waaraniemi, Marek Oziewicz, Megan Van Deventer, Laura Lemanski

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