Summer is a critical time to keep kids reading in order to avoid the "summer slide," a common loss of skills due to being out of school.

Did you know that when kids return to school after summer vacation, they've lost one to three months worth of learning?

When summer vacation arrives, kids suddenly have lots of time on their hands time to play, time to hang out with friends but it's also a critical time to keep kids reading in order to avoid the "summer slide," a common loss of skills due to being out of school.

The good news is, the summer solution is simple: If kids read four or more books over the summer break, they can avoid the educational achievement losses that would otherwise occur (Source: Summer Reading and the Ethnic Achievement Gap, Jimmy Kim, Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk. 2004).

To get kids excited about reading, Scholastic is launching the Scholastic Summer Challenge, a four-month global literacy campaign designed to motivate all children to read four or more books in order to maintain and improve their academic skills. Kids and parents can log on to www.scholastic.com/summer and join the Scholastic Summer Challenge. Kids can log their minutes spent reading, earn points for their team (when kids first sign up, they are assigned to one of four color teams), play games and read for a cause through Save the Children.

Parents can explore new multi-media content about kids and reading, get advice from education experts, and find summer book lists and articles in English and Spanish. Kids age 7 and younger have their own fun challenge: for every book they read and log online, kids earn seeds for their virtual garden. As their garden grows throughout the summer, so will their reading skills.

For Summer Challenge book lists for every age visit www.scholastic.com/summer

Fun summer reading tips from Scholastic (For more tips, visit www.scholastic.com/summer ).
Get started / get carded: Just like planning a vacation is part of the fun, get your children thinking about books to read over the summer. And visit your local library and get a library card-kids really like "official" documents with their names on it. Start a series bet you can't read just one: If you can match the right child to the right book in a series, the reading habit will grow. Your child's teacher, a librarian or a bookseller can advise you on the best popular series. Books to go: Audio books are a good option for getting kids to "read" or experience more books through listening. They also make car trips more bearable and "are we there yet" is heard less often. Start a summer book collection: Just like collecting rocks or seashells, collect books with summer themes. Put them in a fun box or container and take them out to celebrate summer. It's also fun to pull these books out of storage in the middle of winter as a surprise and think about the warmer days ahead.