For many children, summer means swimming pools, sports camps, vacations and riding bikes around the neighborhood. With a two- to three-month long break from school, most kids don’t engage in as many intellectually stimulating activities and don’t read as much as they do during the school year, which can have a profound impact on their academic achievement from the previous year. According to a Parents magazine blog, children can lose up to one full month of learning over the summer. Research also suggests that children from low-income families can return to school in the fall even farther behind than their peers, which can affect their future academic success.
This phenomenon is known as the summer slide and while it’s common among young students, it’s also quite easy to avoid. Reading over summer is one of the best ways for a child to maintain the reading skills they gained during the previous school year and be better prepared for returning to school in the fall, especially for a struggling reader.
One way to prevent summer slide is by making space for reading by creating a cozy place for a child to read at home or by creating space on a shelf for their books. Another way to beat summer slide is to make time for reading by setting aside a designated time for reading each day, even if it only for a few minutes. It is easy to make time for reading by bringing books to appointments or sharing the things you read with your children like the newspaper, recipes and menus.
Because of the profound impact summer reading can have on a child’s literacy achievement, CLI has worked to promote summer reading among K-3 students in Camden, N.J., through the Camden Literacy Project. The Camden Literacy Project is a joint venture between CLI and Camden County-based educational publisher Townsend Press to increase awareness of the summer reading slide among parents, teachers, and students. In addition to training programs for teachers, CLI hosted Bingo for Books, a fun information session for parents, and a book grab for students to take home book collections at two Camden schools. Through the Camden Literacy Project, students and their families are receiving the resources and support they need to make summer reading a priority.