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Avoiding the Summer Slide

Every child loves the summer. No school work, warmer weather, and endless time to play with friends and just relax are among the many reasons children enjoy their time off. It is a time to reset and prepare for the next year of learning.

While the summer months are a great time for a well deserved break from the stress and activity of the school year, it can also pose a threat to the achievements and hard work the students put in over the past school year. The "summer slide" is what can happen to children while they are away from the classroom for a couple months, and are not continuing to work on their reading, listen, speaking, writing, and other literacy skills that are constantly practiced while at school. By taking such a long break away from everything that was learned in the past year, young students may lose some of these skills, and may not be as prepared for the next reading level. While some schools have required summer reading or other homework for students to work on over their break, it is often not enough to diminish the effect of the summer slide.

Children who do not have new books available in their household are at an even higher risk of this learning loss since they do not have access to the resources that will help them continue their education during the summer. Studies have shown that more than half of the gap in reading scores between low-income 9th graders and their middle-income peers could be attributed to differences in summer learning accumulated between first and fifth grade. Having new books, or even journals, magazines, newspapers, or other forms of reading readily available in the house will set the tone for children to understand how important reading is, and will encourage more avid readers and lifelong learners.

The summer slide can make a lasting impact on the educational development and reading abilities of children. Studies have shown that it can have a compound effect over multiple summers, essentially snowballing into a much more impactful loss. This can be harmful because of how easy it is to lose the skills, achievements, and necessary education that students spend so much time and effort working toward during the school year.

Up With Books works to educate others on the importance of avoiding this summer slide, and advocate for those who do not have access to the resources they need. Our Every Summer Has A Story bookbags are filled with engaging age appropriate novels for children to take home and enjoy. This program is set up during the summer to provide the children we serve with the tools they need to succeed at the time of the year when they are likely needing them the most. Teachers, parents, librarians, as well as literacy organizations like ours are all great resources, and necessary parts of overcoming this learning loss of the summer slide.

Help us raise awareness for these children who may be at risk of the summer slide and the negative lifelong impacts even just one summer can have on a child! There are many ways you can advocate for the children in need, and help support our mission. Email us at for more information on how to get involved, ways to educate others on this cause, or if you know a community or organization who could benefit from our services.


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