Summer Reading Setback

It Can Happen To You!!!

What is summer reading setback?

When students to return to school in the fall, they often have diminished reading skills. This is likely as a result of not enough reading activity and practice throughout the summer months. The brain needs to practice and repeat processes in order to maintain certain skills, as with reading. Those students that are most at risk for summer reading setback are students without access to reading materials.

Please Explain More...

Summer reading setback is linked to the Mental Discipline Theory, which states that the brain needs practice and repetition to build its skills and improve its knowledge. Your brain is like a muscle that needs to be exercised.


Think of it this way - You have been consistently running 5 days per week for 10 months. During that time your health has improved, you are running more quickly and efficiently, and feeling confident. Suddenly you stop running for 2 months.


  • How will it feel to try and run at the same pace you were, prior to stopping?
  • Will you be able to pick back up right where you left off, or will it take time to regain the skills you had?
  • Do you want your child to feel that same way when they return to school in the fall?

As a parent, what should I do?

It is crucial that for a child of any age to be reading...every day! Students in early elementary grades should read at least 20 minutes per day, and older grades at least 30 minutes per day. If your child is not yet a fluent reader, here are some tips to help:


  • Choose the right level of book, children will give up quickly if it is too difficult.
  • Read with your child. You can take turns reading pages, read together, do repeat readings, and more.
  • Give them time! Do not rush your child or get frustrated with them. Give prompts to remember letter sounds and words.
  • Make it a fun part of your day, not a punishment!

What If I Need Help?

Many schools and local libraries have resources to help with various aspects of reading. First contact your child's teacher to get advice about your child (i.e. reading levels, interest, difficulties). If you need reading materials check with your school to see if they have a summer reading program. Also check with your local library as many have programs to encourage summer reading.