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June 6. 2018

9 Ways to Prevent Summer Slide

Summer Slide is a term that has become all-too popular among educators. It’s a term that was created to describe when students return from summer break reading at a lower level than they did when they left the previous school year. We know that Summer Slide happens when students don’t practice their reading or writing over the summer, but it actually starts during the school year. If students don’t get hooked on reading in the classroom, they aren’t going to continue reading in the summer. So how can we prevent the Summer Slide? Here are some ideas.

1. Look for ways that books can be provided to children during the summer. For example, you might work with the public library to have a public library/parent night to make sure families have library cards and are aware of services.  

2. Invite families for pizza once a month during the school year, including a book swap or a book giveaway. Share a couple read-alouds to kick off the event.

3. Offer a school bookmobile service to bring books to students’ neighborhoods. You may be able to provide this service with donated funds.

4. Work with other teachers to develop a daily calendar to send home with popular book titles, writing suggestions, and reading activities. Include an interesting bookmark with the calendar that has a place for kids to list favorite titles. Make sure it is posted online and is easily accessible. Encourage kids to mark their favorite book they've read on the calendar and bring it to school the first day in fall.

5. Do email blasts weekly across the summer reminding parents to read to and with their children. Offer book recommendations and reviews or reminders of book-centered activities at local bookstores.

6. Take turns among staff holding a summer book club. Children will love seeing their friends and favorite teachers to talk about books!

7. Schedule “meet up at the library” days during the summer with parents and children. Students will love to see their parents check out books for themselves and they will notice that they are readers as well.

8. Make sure that all teachers have effective training in assessments being used and that reliability is well-established so there is no doubt the final level recorded for school year and passed on to the next teacher is accurate.

9. And probably the most successful preventative is skillful, effective instruction all year long that does not focus on levels but on engagement in the exciting world of books. This includes lots of read-alouds and talk around books; lots of choice for independent reading, and literacy nights to educate parents in how they can support their children.  

What we dream of is for students to burst back into the classroom in the fall talking about their favorite books they read over the summer. We need to make it easy for them to find the right books that will make that happen. When we have really hooked students as readers and writers, they don’t stop reading and writing because it is summer. 

What have you done at your school to prevent Summer Slide? Share it on our Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Facebook Page or the members-only Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Facebook Learning Group.

~The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Team

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