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What is Summer Slide?

It’s not the fun slippery twisty slide that your kids gleefully enjoy over and over again at the pool but rather summer slide is a term for the common loss of learning or “brain drain” that happens during the summer months when students are not in school.

As a parent of 6 and 9 year olds in the public school system, I am a little concerned about my kids’ potential loss of academic skills over the summer. I feel more anxiety for my son who just went through his first EOGs (End of Grade tests) as a third grader. While he passed them, he has struggled some with math, and I worry that a whole summer with no math review will put him further behind. We’ve already enlisted the help of a private tutor due to the pressure of the testing over the past semester and plan to continue with his assistance over the summer.

We are fortunate. We have the means to pay a tutor who can work with my son one-to-one on his level to meet his individual needs. And we have the resources to send both kids to a variety of summer camps that will stimulate their little brains and bodies in things like kitchen chemistry, digital programming, drama, art, and recreation.

Our Triangle area is rich with a range of educationally enlightening camps, but the sad reality is that many of these camps are often not accessible for families in our region who need them the most. While many camps offer scholarships, there are often limited slots and transportation is not provided.

While families like mine look forward to the change of pace and interesting activities summer brings for our kids, summer “break” is a time of great anxiety and risk for many of our neighbors without the consistent access to care, educational resources, and nourishing meals for their children.

A Few Facts

  • Most youth lose two months in math skills over the summer, according to research, but low-income youth also lose more than two months in reading achievement while their middle-income peers make slight gains.
  • The effects of this “summer slide” are cumulative, and significantly contribute to the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income children.
  • Only about one-third of low-income youth participate in a summer learning opportunity, according to a recent survey, and few are high-quality opportunities designed to stem summer learning loss.

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