Summer slide. I know I am preaching to the choir here, but it is still a thing. Ideally, addressing summer slide should be a part of your annual goals or tasks, much like summer reading or Banned Books Week. Even more ideal, if there is such a thing, is partnering with schools and other local agencies. First, though, as my old college professor used to say, we can’t discuss a topic without defining it first. So, here we go.
What is summer slide and why should I care?
Summer slide, and I think Colorado Dept of Education puts it best is:
(T)he tendency for students, especially those from low-income families, to lose some of the
achievement gains they made during the previous school year.
Why you should care
Summer slide can affect almost any child. However, the children it impacts the most are the most socioeconomically disadvantaged. Here’s a thousand words for you:
Why STEM activities?
Okay, so STEM is not reading, I get that. However, remember, we have so many types of approaches to learning and to reading. You know you have your reluctant readers, your kids who respond better to Legos than they do books, or kids who want graphic novels instead of chapter books. It makes sense, then that we need diverse approaches to summer slide.
Defy the Odds: beat summer reading!
You’re welcome! ; ))
These links offer graphic-based views of summer slide and achievement gap impacts.
• Summer Reading Makes a Difference for Colorado Families, Colorado State Library
• Summer by the Numbers, National Summer Learning Association
• The Achievement Gap, National Summer Learning Association
• Kids Who Read Beat Summer Slide, First Book
• Summer Learning Loss Increases the Achievement Gap, Partner for Children
Organizations dedicated to combatting summer slide:
• The National Summer Learning Association offers a wealth of online resources, high-quality research,
and an excellent annual conference related to summer learning and preventing summer slide. The
Publications & Resources tab of the website particularly leads to excellent research and practical tips
for summer program providers.
• Summer Matters is a California organization that provides research and tools on preventing slide that
are relevant nationwide.
In sum, we need to keep this concept at the forefront of parents’ minds as we head into summer. As public servants, we have unique advantages and opportunities to keep the conversation going. Thus, even if you feel you can’t create interventional programs, you know people, politicians, policy makers, etc, who can. It will be worth every minute of your time, if you can’t spare a dime.
Partner, partner, partner!
Preventing summer slide is most effective when community organizations—including schools, public
libraries, community centers, parent groups, social service agencies, and others—work together to
encourage kids to read, make reading fun, and to reach families about the importance of reading over
So here’s your elevator speech talking points for your boss, or your county council:
- Children in low-income households fall behind an average of 2 months in reading during the summer. And, summer slide is cumulative, with these learning losses building up each summer.
- Summer learning loss accounts for two-thirds of the 9th grade achievement gap in reading between
students from low-income households and their higher-income peers.
- Students from low-income households with access to books over the summer see significantly more
gains in reading scores from spring to fall than students from high-income households with access to books and those from low-income households without access to books.
- Differences in children’s summer learning experiences during their elementary school years can
ultimately impact whether they earn a high school diploma and continue to college.