Study after study shows that many children’s reading abilities decline each summer: the summer slide. Many children don’t have their own books at home, or if they do, they are not matched to reading level ranges or interests. After weeks of not having access to books they return to school at a lower reading level. Some students catch up in a day or two, but for others this means weeks and sometimes months of struggle to come back up to speed. This can be seen among all students, but it especially impacts those less likely to have their own books at home, which widens the achievement gap.
The founder of this project, an elementary-school teacher for 30 years, has seen this first-hand:
I watch students who struggle with reading and start to give up in school. Much of the instruction time in the primary grades is spent learning to read. After those primary years, instruction time shifts to reading to learn. Kids who aren’t proficient at decoding and literal comprehension skills need extended or modified instruction while other kids are moving on. This has the potential to lead students to feel less than their peers, shift to negative attitudes, give up more easily, and lose confidence.
This makes the summer-slide between 2nd and 3rd grade especially impactful.
Reading happens all around us every day, not just when you sit down with a book. Literacy opens doors and allows people to be free thinkers and to act on their own free will. If you are literate you have access to information that will give you a better chance of advocating for yourself and even help others.
You can read more about the importance of summer literacy efforts at the following links:
- This article from the Brookings Institution says: “… on average, students’ achievement scores declined over summer vacation by one month’s worth of school-year learning…. it ‘wastes’ so much of the knowledge students have gained during the school year… also undoubtedly increases the amount of time teachers have to spend ‘re-teaching’ last year’s content…”
Read more at www.brookings.edu/research/summer-learning-loss-what-is-it-and-what-can-we-do-about-it/
- This article from the US Department of Education blog says that “…this ‘summer slide’ can be avoided by ensuring that children are as engaged as possible in whatever they choose to read—just as long as they’re reading every day,” and suggests that parents “encourage children to read books they enjoy for at least 30 minutes per day.”
Read more at blog.ed.gov/2011/08/why-summer-reading-pays-off-year-round/