• Denra

Summer Slide Started Early

Remember back when a new school year began and the teacher reviewed lessons from the previous year? Students were told that it was a way to get their minds back to thinking about learning and school subjects. It was, in reality, a means to repair the damage of "Summer Slide."

Just what is "Summer Slide"?

When a child is out of school during the summer, they typically do not spend time with instruction and educational subjects. Days are spent playing outdoors, possibly vacationing and staying up late--unscheduled, relaxed and unstructured. Just like athletic skills improve because they are being practiced, academic skills also improve. Students progress through AR levels, find they care reading more proficiently and have better retention. And also like athletic skills, reading skills decrease due to lack of use. For the most part, athletes train all year long. Students, on the other hand, often train nine months, taking summers off.

Hence, "Summer Slide," when, due to lack of use, reading skills slide downward.

Summer reading programs at libraries are a wonderful antidote. Most public libraries offer prizes for reading books. Some have select times when staff read books to youngsters. Reading to a child is just as important as the child reading a book themselves! Public libraries are a vital resources of books and learning, especially when school is closed.

Speaking of school being closed, "Summer Slide 2020" got a boost from COVID-19 when schools closed ahead of schedule, thus preventing access to the school library for leisure reading books AND public libraries closed too.

And visitation to jails were temporarily suspended.

So here's the problem: no books. Yes, "Summer Slide 2020" is going to be the 5-star-ultra-mega-drop-off-like-no-other.

One solution is a Little Free Library where you "take one, leave one" so there's a constant supply of books. These little gems are popping up everywhere. The website will tell you where there's one near you. A few precautions should be taken since the pandemic, of course. Leaving the book in a garage or outside for 4-5 days,e spraying it with disinfectant, etc. are a few suggestions.

Another possibility is to re-read favorite books. Sure you already know how it ends, but you'll find something new, guaranteed.

Online books are another solution. Several public libraries and local schools are offering free wi-fi for people -- just park your car in the parking lot and connect. Remember to practice social distancing! Sit under a nearby tree for shade or lower the car windows and read from the comfort of your own backseat.

When this is all over--and it will end--consider donating your personal books to your local library or Little Free Library. It will make a world of difference in the life of a child. Promise!

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