Gearing Up for the Summer: Tips for Year-Round Readers

This post was originally published as a guest post by LitWorld on Booksource Banter.

As tradition goes, summer break is a time for exploring new places, making new friends and discovering new interests. It’s a type of social-emotional development that can, and should, go hand-in-hand with year-round learning.

But for some kids, summer break and ten weeks away from school can put them at risk for summer learning loss. The “summer slide” is a well-documented phenomenon in which children lose significant ground on academic learning during the long break. The summer reading loss is responsible for approximately two thirds of the 9th grade achievement gap!

Studies have found that summer reading initiatives have a profound impact, but keeping kids reading during the summer months can be a challenge, especially for families who can’t afford the rising cost of summer activities which average $856 per child.

So, how can we help kids gear up for a summer that is equally enriching and enjoyable? Take these steps to prevent summer slide and help kids love reading year-round.

3 Steps You Can Take to Prevent Summer Slide

1. Tap into the joy.

As parents and educators, you can create a joyful reading environment in your homes, summer schools and beyond. Positive reading experiences and affirmational learning environments can be absolutely transformational in a child’s reading life. Encourage their own reading journey and you may find their enthusiasm for summer reading has grown!

2. Emphasize choice.

Before the end of the school year, ask your kids about the types of texts that they love the most and emphasize this kind of reading during the summer. Even if their required list isn’t flexible, kids will read more enthusiastically when they feel confident about their identity as readers! Check out these home and classroom resources from Booksource to encourage reading choice this summer.

3. Get resourceful.

Districts all over the country are ramping up their summer reading programs to meet the needs of kids and families everywhere. Public libraries are also great resources for summer reading programs and of course great books! Start your research now and be sure not to miss any exciting events in your neighborhood.

With planning and preparation, we can turn the summer slide into the “summer leap” for our kids, making this their best summer yet!

A Life-Changing Week at the HerStory Summit

The HerStory Sisterhood

"We are leaving here with sisters from every part of the world, and that is the greatest strength of this summit."

These closing words from the second annual Global HerStory Summit, co-created with our amazing partner Global G.L.O.W., sing the powerful story of this signature HerStory Campaign event and the work we do together in partnership with communities every day of the year.

At the Summit, our girls and their mentors from LitClubs around the world came together in New York City during the UN Women's Commission on the Status of Women to learn and share experiences. They created their very own Community Action Plans to bring change to their communities through the power of story. Now, the girls have returned to their homes to put their ideas into action. Our HerStory Youth Ambassadors are creating positive, lasting, girl-driven change in the world. And it is the power of their own stories that fuels that change.

Girl-Driven Change

HerStory Leaders with Ravi Karkara of UN Women

HerStory Leaders with Ravi Karkara of UN Women

The Power of Story Connects to the Work of UN Women

The Summit was held in conjunction with UN Women’s 61st Annual Commission on the Status of Women to ensure that action plans were aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Ravi Karkara, Senior Advisor for Strategic Partnerships at UN Women, joined us to share his commitment to gender equity and passion for advocacy on behalf of all girls.

The Power of Story Fuels Community-Based Change

Juany, the Director of Otra Cosa Network, our partner organization in Peru, reported that the HerStory Ambassadors had their first meeting with the Mayor of Huanchaco in Cerrito de la Virgen as the first step in their Community Action Plan. They are hard at work to make access to water a reality!

The Power of Story Creates Safe Learning Spaces

Winney and the group of Ambassadors from Kenya are working to create LitClub-Houses, safe, permanent space for girls to attend the LitClub program, study and store essential learning supplies like notebooks, pens, and even sanitary pads. In LitClub, Winney has learned, “Once a girl has knowledge, she will be able to fight for her own rights and prove others wrong. Then she will succeed in life and even empower other girls.” 

Winney is already empowering other girls in her own community and will become a mentor for LitClubs now that she has graduated from secondary school. Winney is a powerful example of how the HerStory Campaign supports girls to grow into young women who have a positive impact on themselves, their own communities, and the world. 

The Power to Change the World

From the friendships formed during this amazing week, to the profoundly beautiful stories written, told, and displayed by our LitClub members, and our organization's extraordinary partnership with Global Girls Leading Our World, the HerStory Campaign is modeling the power of women and girls to change the world. 

You can support this crucial work of equity through literacy by joining us at LitWorld's 10th Anniversary Spring Gala on May 10. We invite you to this special evening as we celebrate a decade of supporting kids to author their own lives and stories.

Vote For the "Be The Story" Project!

Sharing Student Stories Via Vending Machines in Detroit

A Community Thrives is a new funding opportunity through the USA TODAY NETWORK that supports creative solutions to communities' needs. LitWorld is partnering with The Head & The Hand Press for an opportunity to win up to $100,000 towards our "Be The Story" Project.

Our project asks the question: What if we switched bags of chips with stories in vending machines in schools? Stories written by the students, published as paperback booklets known as chapbooks? The Head & The Hand Press is partnering with LitWorld to make this idea a reality in Detroit. Together, we will host workshops where young writers will produce stories of strength and see them published and displayed in custom chapbook vending machines all over the city. Each school or community's chapbook vending machine will become a portal into the imaginations of its kids. Each story inside a shareable, swappable record of a young writer's vision. 

Voting is open from April 12-May 12 with a maximum one vote per person, per day. Cast your vote and be a champion for the students of Detroit and their powerful stories.

A Reflection from Our Intern: The Magic of Children's Books

Jacey Davidson, LitWorld Winter Intern

J.K. Rowling said in Harry Potter, “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.” I also have always believed that stories have an immense power and transformative quality, especially when introduced at a young age.  Learning to read and write changed my life, allowing my dreams to soar in the unrestrained world of literature. Before I came to LitWorld, I had never seen stories used in such a meaningful and positive way by an organization on a global scale.

During my month-long internship with LitWorld, I spent my time going through their collection of children's books, and placing each of them in one of LitWorld's 7 Strengths: Belonging, Curiosity, Friendship, Kindness, Confidence, Courage, and Hope. With a rare few exceptions the books fit solidly in a category, with strong core values at the heart of every story. Far removed from the world of picture books, many adults underestimate the power that even very simple stories can have on children. They can be deceptively simple, but pack so much more meaning below the surface. I had underestimated the impact of the children's books on young readers.

When I attended one of the LitClub meetings with children in New York I was shown how influential children’s books can be. The class was based around Curiosity, and the read aloud was Shel Silverstein’s poem Reflection, about someone who looks at their reflection in water. I knew who the “upside down man” in the poem was, but listening to the kids discuss it reminded me of how I used to feel, reading tricky Shel Silverstein poems and being proud of myself for figuring out the play on words or the joke. Listening to the kids talk gave me a renewed sense of wonder for the poem, which I had previously thought of as simple. It was also heartening to see how interested the kids were in discussing the poem, and the ideas it gave them as they talked.

Jacey Davidson, Winter Intern

Jacey Davidson, Winter Intern

In addition to underestimating the tools of the trade--children's books--we underestimate the kids themselves, their fervor for learning and empowering their imaginations. Interning at LitWorld has certainly rekindled both of those fires in my heart, and I hope to return to help others enter into the magical world of reading.

Watch: This is #HerStory

Paula and Saniya and writing their stories right now.

The HerStory Campaign, powered by LitWorld and Global Girls Leading Our World, provides young women and girls the support and global platform to share their unique stories. This month, we released the first two in a four-part series of powerful stories from girls around the world. Hear Paula and Saniya as they speak about their hopes and show their fierce determination.

Want to help amplify their voices? Share these videos and add your name at