The Blacktop Blog

How to Prevent the Summer Slide

Ah, childhood memories of summer — sleeping in, warm days at the beach, campouts, visits from relatives, reading at least four books to maintain grade level literacy and learning skills . . . What?

Most parents view summer as a time for children to play, spend time with family, pursue interests and take a break from the rigors of school. However, as Malcolm Gladwell asserts in his recent bestseller Outliers, "America doesn't have a school problem, it has a summer vacation problem."

Research shows that during the long, lazy days of summer, children who aren't encouraged to read experience the "Summer Slide," a measurable drop in reading and learning skills that has been documented in several major recent studies.

Researchers have established that Summer Slide reading losses are cumulative, which creates a widening gap between more- and less-proficient readers. By the end of fifth grade, the Summer Slide results in as much as a two-year gap in reading ability between children who read enough during the summer and those who don't.

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