The end of the school year is fast approaching. Summer is looming on everyone’s mind. There is one thing parents may not be thinking about: the dreaded “summer slide.”
All children experience a learning loss during the summer. Experts call this the summer learning loss the “summer slide.” This occurs when students don’t read during the summer. Students who experience the summer slide are more likely to struggle when they return to school in the fall.
A report estimates lost instructional time to be nearly two months. This translated roughly 22 percent of the school year. According to Cindy Buchanan, reading is crucial. The stakes are high for students who don’t read over summer vacation. Buchanan serves as Aldine ISD’s program director for library services.
“Research shows that the summer slide affects more students from low-income families,” said Buchanan. “These students fall far behind their peers if they don’t read over the summer. These students don’t just suffer greater loss during the summer. They also experience cumulative effects of greater learning loss each summer.”
The few months of loss in reading skills compounds over the years. Let’s take a child in elementary school. Let’s say this child doesn’t spend every summer reading. By the time this child reaches middle school, he or she may have lost as much two years worth of achievement.
Sociologists Karl Alexander and Doris Entwisle studied the summer loss and its cumulative effect. Their research showed this to be a primary cause of widening achievement gaps. Donald Hayes and Judith Grether also studied this effect. Data showed a clear difference between rich and poor students. There was a seven-month difference in scores at the beginning of second grade. But the learning loss mounted during four summers. It led to an achievement difference of 80 percent between rich and poor students by the end of sixth grade.
Summer slide affects millions of students each year in the U.S. — but it doesn’t have to. Summer is a great time to help children fall in love with reading. Experts agree that children who read during the summer gain reading skills. They also do better in school.
“We encourage children to read just six books over summer vacation,” said Buchanan. “This can help ward off setbacks in language skills. We want to prevent a reading decline in achievement when students return in the fall. Aldine ISD is doing its part to encourage summer reading. The district will open campus libraries this June to make books accessible to students. Reading during the summer is a great way to help close the achievement gap. It helps students succeed.”
Students will have the opportunity to check out books at more than 40 Aldine ISD school libraries that will open on certain days of the week. This is the third year that AISD school libraries provide the summer service to students. AISD students can go to any school library that is open during the summer to check out books. They can go to a school library even if they are not zoned to attend that campus. Each campus library will open one day a week (see list below).
“Making books accessible to children is the best antidote for the summer slide,” Buchanan said. “Access to books and libraries results in more reading, which, in turn, results in improved reading skills. We want to create a culture of reading. Parents can take an active role. With their involvement, they can encourage reading at home. This will make a difference. Students will return to school in the fall better prepared for academic success.”
Buchanan encourages parents to take part in helping create a reading culture. Children who love to read come from an environment that values reading. Their environment is rich in printed materials. This includes books, magazines, newspapers as well as comic books. That environment also has adults who are reading role models. Studies show that children who come from print-rich environment consistently have higher academic performance. They score better in writing, reading and math skills.
Parents play an important role in creating enthusiastic readers. In one study, researchers examined 21 kindergarten classes. They wanted to see who displayed high interest in reading and who showed low interest. It became clear that the home environment and parents’ reading habits were crucial factors.
Summer is the perfect time to build a reading culture. It is a great time to start new traditions, rituals, and activities. Parents and their children can read together. Parents can also talk with their children about the books they are reading. Visit your child’s school library to learn more about creating a reading culture at home. For questions about summer reading, contact the information literacy specialist at the school library.
District leaders support the Summer Reading Program. It instills the love of reading and expands students’ literacy during the summer. AISD Library Services Department also offers eBooks that families can download and read offline. The eBooks in English and Spanish are available from Tumblebooks and Folletshelf. Email Buchanan ([email protected]) for password access to these sites.
“We want to develop students’ literacy and their love for reading,” added Buchanan. “There are so many fun, wonderful books for every student’s interest. If students are unsure of what they might like to read, they can talk to the librarian. These information literacy specialists can help find a genre they will enjoy.”
What can parents do after June 24 when school libraries close? Families should consider Houston area public libraries.
“The online resources will continue to be available,” said Buchanan. “But I also encourage families to visit their local library. Many public libraries offer summer reading programs and story time sessions. They also offer family literacy and language workshops. Public libraries offer computers and Wi-Fi access too.
“The most important thing is to encourage school age children to read during the summer. It will benefit them now and their future.”
Summer AISD Campus Library Schedule From June 6-24. Libraries will have the same hours as summer school on the campus.
Bussey Elementary School: Open Friday
Calvert Elementary School: Open Wednesday
Carmichael Elementary School: Open Wednesday
Carroll Academy: Open Wednesday
Carter Academy: Open Wednesday
Conley Elementary School: Open Wednesday
Eckert Intermediate School: Open Wednesday
Eisenhower Ninth Grade School: Open Wednesday
Eisenhower High School: Open Tuesday
Francis Elementary School: Open Wednesday
Goodman Elementary School: Open Wednesday
Gray Elementary School: Open Monday
Johnson Elementary School: Open Tuesday
Jones Elementary School: Open Wednesday
Lewis Middle School: Open Monday
MacArthur Ninth Grade School: Open Wednesday
MacArthur High School: Open Wednesday
Magrill Elementary School: Open Tuesday
Marcella Intermediate School: Open Tuesday
Odom Elementary School: Open Wednesday
Oleson Elementary School: Open Tuesday
Orange Grove Elementary School: Open Wednesday
Rayford Intermediate School: Open Wednesday
Raymond Academy: Open Tuesday
Shotwell Middle School: Open Tuesday
Smith Academy: Open Wednesday
Stehlik Intermediate School: Open Monday
Stephens Elementary School: Open Wednesday
Stovall Middle School: Open Tuesday
Thompson Elementary School: Open Tuesday
Wilson Intermediate School: Open Tuesday
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