Avoid The 'Summer Slide' - What Parents and Schools Can Do to Avoid Academic Loss


Ahhh, the Summer Holidays..... A time to take a break and rest from all things considered as 'work'.....right?

Children have worked so hard over the year and parents have supported their child's learning by being engaged with their children during home reading (through books/readers that the school has sent home, hopefully decodable readers as we know these are the best type for beginner learners).

The Aussie summer break is roughly 6 weeks and while it is important for relaxation, fun and play time, it is equally important that students maintain a level of skills and knowledge of the reading process during this time.

Research in other countries show that students can go backwards in their reading ability over the summer break, in what's been dubbed as the 'Summer Slide'. Although I can't find Australian studies and research that points to the same decline, my own teaching experiences have led me to being an advocate of small summertime reading routines to support parents and students to ensure this doesn't happen.

As an educator in the early primary years, the 'Summer Slide' was really evident, when I taught multiage classes where I had the same children year after year.  I knew their reading skills and knowledge at the end of the year and when hearing them read at the start of the following year, there was a clear decline in the reading abilities of some students.  For many years, I made it my mission to educate the parents about this phenomena and the types of small learning opportunities they could incorporate into their summer break to keep the learning progressing.

Before I get to the recommendations, let's have a look at a theoretical model of the reading process and how this understanding can best support our children who are learning to read. 20 years ago, the wonderful Dr Hollis Scarborough designed a theoretical model representing the complex skills of a readers.  This model shows us that there are two very distinct components of reading: Language Comprehension and Word Decoding. 

I then like to use this model to show parents and educators the types of books that are best used to support these skills. 




more info here....