The Summer Slide is Real - Here's How to Stop It

For most kids, summer is the best time of the year. No school, unlimited time to play outside, and plenty of fun with friends. But for educators and parents, summertime signals a period in which our kids' academic growth is challenged and - in some cases - lost. This decline in academic ability is known as the "Summer Slide".

At EveryLibrary, we believe education is a never-ending road that you must always move forward. This summer we are launching our first ever Summer Read-a-Thon in an effort to help kids climb over this barrier and emerge stronger at the end of the summer.

For educators and parents, this unfortunate reality is obvious. For some, it is an unproven theory that is lacking in academic research. This ambiguity can deter some people from contributing to our cause.

In an effort to ensure as many people as possible know about this terrible circumstance, and to ensure we all can understand the scientific backing, we have collected five studies from various organizations that show the detrimental effects of the Summer Slide. 

We hope that these primary sources can satisfy even our most staunch opponents. 

The first paper we found is by Karl L. Alexander of Johns Hopkins. Alexander and his co-authors, Doris R. Entwisle, and Linda Steffel Olson are the premier voices when it comes to Summer Slide research. Their paper, Lasting Consequences of the Summer Learning Gap, is the ultimate culmination of their work.

Below is an excerpt of the abstract.

We find that cumulative achievement gains over the first nine years of children's schooling mainly reflect school-year learning, whereas the high SES–low SES achievement gap at 9th grade mainly traces to differential summer learning over the elementary years. These early out-of-school summer learning differences, in turn, substantially account for achievement-related differences by family SES in high school track placements (college preparatory or not), high school non completion, and four-year college attendance.

The next two articles come from RAND Corporation, a think tank dedicated to crafting better policy decisions based on available information and statistics.

The first article is not in fact an article, but it is an informational. It can be found here. It is an infographic that illustrates the devastating effects of the Summer Slide.

The next article is titled Kids Who Attend More Benefit More: Voluntary Summer Reading Programs. In this article, numerous authors investigated two summer reading programs over two years and their effects on the students three years after the program.

The final article we collected comes from the "American Sociological Review".

Titled Are Schools the Great Equalizer? Cognitive Inequality during the Summer Months and the School Year, this paper breaks down the impact of socio-economic status on the difference of the Summer Slide. The sociological impact of the Summer Slide is fascinating and tragic. 

The core aspect of our mission is to ensure all children have access to libraries, regardless of their parent's socio-economic background. With the Summer Slide having a particular detrimental impact on lower income communities, it is our hope that thorough our programs we can make America a land of equal access to books.

It is our hope that you find these papers and infographic helpful in your understanding of the Summer Slide. We hope that with this information, you can appreciate the severity of what we are fighting against. This mission can only be accomplished with contributions by book lovers like you.