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A Plan to Battle the Summer Slide for Struggling Readers

Categories: Disability Type, Education & Teaching, Learning Disabilities, Parenting, Uncategorized

by Jules Johnson, Learning Ally

Girls Reading on Beach

Taking time to relax when school is out is important, but research shows that reading just 4-5 books during the summer can prevent a decline in a child's fall reading scores.

So, how do you encourage struggling readers to keep it going during the dog days of summer?

One way is with audiobooks! In late 2016, Learning Ally conducted a nationwide survey of our teachers. According to the survey, teachers agree that their struggling readers who gain access to human-narrated audiobooks increase vocabulary skills, better comprehend grade-level assignments, and become independent readers.

Participating in summer reading can be as easy as downloading books to your student's Learning Ally bookshelf, but here are a few more tips to help make the most of learning over the break:

Join a Summer Reading Program for Prizes

Local libraries often offer these programs for free, but you can also find them at bookstores and even through some sports programs!

Learning Ally has a fabulous summer reading program that is free for our members. Students can earn prizes like Beats headphones for ear-reading the most pages, ear-reading with the most frequency, or by posting photos to social media about their love of audiobooks (with parent's permission). Find out more here.

Picking out the Right Book

Emily from the Literacy Nest highlights a "readers pyramid of book choice" on her blog. It's a great way to balance practicing many different levels of books - from easy to challenging.

Emily starts by drawing a pyramid. On the bottom, she puts three titles that would be very easy for your student to read. The next level includes two books that are at just the right level. The top of the pyramid is reserved for a challenging read - a good one for an audiobook.


Guide students in creating a pyramid of their own for the summer, and you may even want to plan a special treat for the fall if they read all 6 books. Some teachers have had a "lunch with the teacher" day, give a homework pass, or plan an extra recess (if possible) for kids who complete the challenge.

Having trouble finding a book your student will like? We have a list of featured titles for summer 2017 here. You can also browse books by grade level and interests on Learning Ally.

Get the Most Out of VOICEtext

Books marked as VOICEtext™ in the Learning Ally audiobook library actually highlight passages as the audiobook narrates. This is wonderful for demonstrating proper fluency and helping to build word recognition!


However, keep in mind that even if your student only wants to listen, you are still building vocabulary, comprehension, and a verbal word bank. All of this helps keep a child on par with peers when it comes to reducing the risk of summer slide!

Summer Reading LogoLearning Ally is a leading ed-tech nonprofit organization proven to transform the lives of struggling readers with learning differences. Not a member yet? Try a quick start package for your school, and then sign up for our Summer Reading Together - a free summer reading program for Learning Ally member schools and families.