So why does the library encourage participation in summer reading? The summer slide is why.
Students who do not engage in two to three hours of reading or other learning each week during the summer will lose some of the skills they worked so hard during the school year to acquire. The amount lost varies from student to student but generally increases as students get older with seventh grade students losing an average of 36 percent of school year gains in reading and 50 percent of school year gains in math.
Here are a few facts about the summer slide. It all adds up. Combining multiple years of summer slide, students, by the time they reach high school can be up to two years behind students not experiencing the summer slide. Ask teachers about how much they have to re-teach material each fall.
Teachers plan to spend four to eight weeks re-teaching material students have already learned. This is before they can start on the material they are supposed to be covering. That means that instead of having eight months to teach new skills they only have six to seven months.
Help your youngest learners to practice their reading as third graders who can’t read at their grade level are four times less likely to graduate by age 18.
And finally, summer slide costs kids and the educational system. It is estimated that more than $1,500 is spent each year per student re-teaching materials. That means that over the course of a K-12 education approximately $18,000 is spent per student re-teaching skills. Imagine what a district could do with that amount per student teaching new materials.
So how do you get your students to spend time learning this summer? Participate in the summer reading program and make reading each day a priority. Take reading material wherever you go and when someone says they are bored, offer a choice of reading material – fiction, non-fiction, audiobooks, magazines and graphic novels.
Read aloud together. Take turns reading aloud a favorite book or series, discover something new together. Practice makes perfect or at least proficient. It doesn’t matter what we do, with practice we get better.
Children who read at least four books over the summer perform better on reading comprehension tests in the fall.
Make a commitment to learning – through books, board games, and even digital engagement. Summer learning should be about pursuing their interests. Even kids just learning to read can learn to code if computers are their thing. Help them explore new and interesting things through books, games and just getting outside and discovering a new insect, bird, or other animal.
Two to three hours per week is all that is needed to prevent this loss of skills. And the loss happens to anyone who does not spend a few hours each week learning and/or reading.
So make summer reading a priority for everyone in the family this summer. Earn free books and other great prizes and head into fall ready for a great year.