It appears the summer slide has arrived early this year. Even though school is still in session, kids are not physically at school. They are stuck at home completing lessons on a computer. Education professionals are calling this period a “spring slide.” Usually this happens in the summer months when a student’s reading ability dips between school years. Families must remain vigilant to prevent this spring slide! Here are some top tips to ensure your kiddos are primed for school success when they eventually return.

Create a Comfy Reading Spot

Not sure how to go about this? Visit Pinterest and search for “children’s reading nook.” There are hundreds of cute ideas for creating a special place for the kiddos to read. What do they all have in common? Cozy items like pillows, blankets, and shaggy rugs, combined with fun lighting, fort-like or whimsical features, and don’t forget the books! Having their own reading space will encourage reading time and a sense of freedom.

Schedule Family Reading Time

Children thrive on a routine. When I was growing up, reading time was always the last thing we did for the day. We took our showers, dressed in our pajamas, and hopped into bed for story time. Make reading a daily habit with a regularly scheduled time like after lunch, after dinner, or before bed. Bonus points for twice a day!

Provide Plenty of Reading Choices

We know it’s tough right now with libraries closed and deliveries delayed. Don’t fret too much, because there are tons of online options for reading books on a computer or tablet! We’ve gathered just a sampling of the available options here:

Storyline Online is a free resource for remote learning during this time. The stories are videos of celebrities reading children’s books – very entertaining!

Oxford Owl lets you browse its free eBooks by age and reading level. What’s the catch? It is free, but you need to register to access the library.

Magic Blox is a large collection of kid’s books for children up to age thirteen. There are picture books, chapter books, and audio books available in multiple languages. New content is added weekly.

Open Library is exactly as it sounds. It’s an open, editable library catalog, building towards a web page for every book ever published. This site is not only for the kiddos, but great for mom and dad too!

Magic Keys is known for its illustrated stories. Each book comes with vivid pictures to accompany each page of the story.

Free Children’s Stories allows users to browse by age and story style. It has a wide selection of stories and sometimes will have links to a video of the story being read.

Audible is offering dozens of free children’s audiobooks during this time. Go to the section “Littlest Listeners” (too cute)! There are also audiobooks available for other age groups, including some classics for mom and dad!

We saved the best for last. Epic! is, no exaggeration, an epic new site. Epic! is the leading digital library for kids under twelve. It offers a free 30-day trial for parents and is entirely free for teachers and librarians. The site is unique in that it presents up to four reading profiles for each user and kids can personalize their reading selections. Sounds like so much fun!

Not only are these practical sites offering free resources for your kiddos, but both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have free eBooks too! Search for children’s books and sort the pricing low to high to see the free selections at the top.

We hope you make use of the free online books and keep sane staying at home! Remember, being stuck at home is a wonderful opportunity to get a lot of reading time in.