Combating the Summer Slide with Summer Reading Promotion

“It is estimated that the “Summer Slide” accounts for as much as 85% of the reading

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achievement gap between lower income students and their middle and upper income peers.”

-“Why Summer Matters in the Rich/Poor Achievement Gap”, Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen

So I had this idea… What could I do to enhance and promote summer reading?

My students participate in AR reading during the school year. I know teachers are split on whether this practice is good or bad, but it does promote reading throughout the year. As a former reading teacher I was so bummed when I had a student who had made such great progress over the school year came back the following year back at the starting line. The “Summer Slide” is a real thing that teachers have to combat each and every year. As much as two months at the beginning of the year is delegated to reteaching and retraining students’ brains to be in a learning frame of mind. This could all be contested by promoting summer reading, according to the latest research. (Here is a consolidated version from Scholastic. Note the references at the bottom if you are interested in this topic.)

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If a student reads at least four books during the summer, their brains stay in a learning frame of mind and helps their brains stay active and engaged.

In an effort to promote summer reading I created a handout using Piktochart and a bookmark to send home with parents and students prior to the end of the school year. Parents and students during the summer months often get stumped on what would be a great read to pick up at the public library or book store. What is appropriate? What would my student like? Without the help of the friendly school librarian that knows their student, it can be difficult to find the perfect book during the summer.

On the handout I organized book recommendations by genre. I started by listing the Golden Sower Nominees, Nebraska’s Student Choice Award, for 2017-2018 and then added in the top books that were checked out in the library this year. On the back of the handout I printed out the research compiled by Scholastic about the importance of summer reading.

The bookmarks were printed on yellow card stock. We handed them out to each student that checked out a book during the last three weeks of school. We also distributed them to the reading teachers to handout to any students who struggle with self-selection. In this way we are helping to promote reading during the summer months and, hopefully, preventing the summer slide and its effects.

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