Summer is wonderful – kids have a little less structure to their education and a lot more opportunity for creativity and hands-on activities. It is also the time when they can fall into a trap called the summer slide or summer setback.
Summer slide is the phenomenon where students, especially those from low-income families, to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year.
Studies have shown that without access to books and reading students across all grades lose between 25-30 percent over summer – the equivalent of two months of math and reading skills. Sadly, those losses are cumulative and gaps grow wider with each summer. [Get more facts in the sources at the end of this post.]
Keep Reading …
That’s the short answer. Keeping kids reading is the optimum way of preventing summer slide.
Libraries everywhere have wonderful Summer Reading Programs. Many adopt the theme offered by the Collaborative Summer Reading Program.
Keeping kids reading and/or sharing books is simple in theory, but not always easy to implement.
- Less structure doesn’t always mean less busy.
- Neither you nor your kids think reading is fun.
- Your preteen reminds you every day I’m not in school, Mom.
The great news is that we have lots of options when it comes to “Slaying the Slide.” First, books come in all kinds of formats – including audio! Second, books are part of the literacy equation, but not the only part.
Let’s Do This – Together!
Beginning Sunday, 3 June, I am going to publish a weekly post that will be tagged with #NoSummerSlide.
It will be short and offer two ideas on ways to help kids practice their literacy skills that don’t directly involve books. One idea for elementary-aged kids; one idea for middle- to high-school students.
Even though it will look like a fun activity, the purpose is to make it easy for you to sneak in some learning.
These activities are not meant to be a substitute for reading. They can complement that activity and, in the weeks when summer gets crazy and you can’t get to the library, you can still keep on track.
Here’s to a #NoSummerSlide summer!
Additional Resources & Statistics
- Summer Slide and the Importance of Reading Over the Summer, Colorado State Department of Education
- What Is Summer Slide? Richmond (VA) Public Schools
- Summer Learning Loss: What Is It and What Can We Do About It, Brookings Institute
- 5 Tips for Preventing Summer Slide, Children’s Literacy Initiative