Krystyl Farmer Library Columns

Preventing the “Summer Slide” by Krystyl Farmer

          From the end of the school year to the beginning of the next year, every student risks Summer Learning Loss, or Summer Slide. Summer Slide happens when kids do not exercise the skills they learned during the school year and forget them over summer vacation. Most students will lose about 2 months of math skills but, children from low-income households are at risk for losing 2-3 months of reading as well.2 Unfortunately, these students fall behind academically, compared to their higher-income peers, and this loss is cumulative1– the gap between these students widens every summer. One theory for this is that all students have a resource “faucet” during the school year, but during the summer, some of them won’t have those resources available to them.4 This can include lack of access to technology, books, puzzles and games, and other cognitive stimulation.

Even though every kid can experience this phenomena, you can prevent this from happening! Reading just 4-5 books during the entire summer, or reading 2-3 hours per week, will keep your child from losing ground.3 Elementary students who spend at least five weeks participating in a voluntary summer learning program experience benefits in both reading and math.2  Parent involvement is also critical to help kids maintain progress throughout the summer.5 One website even recommended using educational apps and challenging your child to get higher and higher scores.3 If you think about it, there are roughly 10 weeks of summer vacation- if your student reads just one book every week they will have surpassed the 4-5 book minimum to retain their reading skills. Over the summer, your local public libraries offer reading programs to challenge students and help them stay on track!

To participate in the program, your child will pledge to read each week during summer. Each library has different requirements, so please check with your local branch for their specific criteria. All libraries in Highlands County will be hosting performances throughout the summer from talents such as storytellers, musicians, magicians, and ventriloquists. The libraries also host events with crafts, activities, book talks, and light snacks. Remember all events, performances, snacks, and crafts are free of charge and welcome to everyone. Library cards are not required and you don’t have to get a card if you come visit.

If you have questions about an event, call the branch or stop by and we will answer all your questions. When you visit, keep your eyes peeled for schedules, flyers, and bookmarks with dates of events. This summer’s theme is “A Universe of Stories” and coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing. Blast off with Summer Reading at your local public library!