What is the Summer Slide?
If you are a parent or teacher of elementary-aged students, chances are that you’ve heard of ‘The Summer Slide’. The Summer Slide refers to a regression in reading and other academic skills over the summer break. The students most at-risk of experiencing a significant summer slide are primary students and lower-achieving upper elementary students. The summer slide impacts those skills that aren’t quite fluent or solidified at the end of the school year. So, a kindergarten student who just began to decode CVC words in May will likely need a long period of re-teaching in first grade…unless they practice over the summer!
Preventing the summer slide is important to educators everywhere. It closes the achievement gap! After working with a student tirelessly on the same skill for months, it is so difficult to let them go on summer break and worry that they won’t practice that skill for eight solid weeks. The more re-teaching that needs to happen during the beginning of the next school year, the more of a gap is created between that student’s achievement and the peers who did not need to be retaught that skill.
Preventing the Summer Slide
So, if all agree that practicing literacy skills during summer is important, how do we create buy-in with our students and their families? Below are three tips for preventing the summer slide in your students!
Create a Routine: When you propose the idea of working on academics over the summer, not every family will know how to be consistent. I suggest sending home a list of possible routines for families to adopt. This could include things like reading before bed every night, practicing sight words at breakfast for 10 minutes, etc. Or, go broader and suggest that every student in your class gets 60 minutes of literacy practice a week. Break this down for families into 15-20 minute segments, 3-4 times a week. Suggest activities to do in each of those time blocks: decoding one day, reading the next, writing on the last day, etc.
Provide Engaging Resources: Outside of books, your families may not all be equally prepared to practice skills over the summer with their students. Snag some easy-to-prep resources that you can send home with your class on the last week of school! These can be packets, flashcards, digital resources, etc.
Practice Skills in Unconventional Situations: Create a list of fun, summer-themed ways to practice every day skills, and send home with your families! This list could include writing sight words with sidewalk chalk, spelling out words while splashing in the pool, and reading with a flashlight in a tent in the backyard! The same skills taken outside, or to a favorite venue is a great way to get students invested in practicing them!
Start the Habit in Your room
One resource that is both engaging and targets early literacy skills is the “I Am a Reader” series in my TPT store! ‘I Am a Reader’ is digital, which means zero prep for both you and the families in your classroom. Additionally, it’s self-guided and highly engaging! Built-in GIFs inspire students to keep going, and comprehension checks keep struggling readers on track. There is also a printable set you can simply print out and make copies to use right away with your readers!
I recommend beginning a routine with ‘I Am a Reader’ in your classroom during the last few weeks of school. You can introduce it whole group, in small groups, or let students play around with it independently. After students have become familiar with the format, it will be so much easier to share with parents!
I am a reader: Summer Edition
The Summer-themed ‘I Am a Reader’ passage set comes with 30 summer-themed reading passages for primary readers! You can easily use a handful in class now, and save the rest to send home for your break! The passage themes include popular topics, as well as word work, vocabulary, and comprehension checks. You can see an up-close look at ‘I Am a Reader’ in THIS blog post. Grab your set today, and prevent the summer slide in your students!