What Is Summer Slide?

It is no surprise that students tend to lose some of the knowledge learned during the school year when summer break hits. This loss of achievement is known to many as the “Summer Slide.”

A recent study of children showed that about 15% of kindergarten to fifth-grade students lose their school-year gains in reading over summer break. Younger students are more susceptible to the Summer Slide because they are at a crucial stage in the development of their brains. Within younger students, the groups that are the most at risk are those:


What Parents and Tutors Can Do

Many parents believe that reading with their child often over the summer is enough to prevent the loss of the reading gains achieved over the school year. While helpful, it is not enough for at-risk literacy groups. Parents should ask their child’s teacher if they can provide input and recommendations to help weave critical skills into their days at home.

It’s also worth looking into the many summer enrichment options that may be available locally, such as programs offered through libraries, schools, YMCAs, and community centers. Students who participate in summer learning programs benefit from notable advancements in their academic achievement, including vocabulary and reading skills. In a 2014 study conducted in Colorado, 59% of families participating in their local libraries’ summer reading program said that their child’s reading skills increased and the child’s enjoyment of reading. 

For something that can be done at home and accommodates most any schedule, IMSE offers tools to help parents combat Summer Slide, such as a 2-hour asynchronous video course that covers foundational reading skills in hands-on training in both English and Spanish. The course begins with alphabet sounds and phonological awareness skills and then shifts to how children learn to read and write words and sentences. 

IMSE also carries Orton-Gillingham-in-a-Bag, which includes many multisensory activities to enhance the at-home reading experience. The bag can be shipped directly and includes:

Individual or small group tutoring is also an effective way to prevent summer learning loss. Tutors can use OG in a bag to provide a similar experience to the classroom so that students are able to apply literacy methods with consistency.


Finding the Right Balance

Kids deserve – and need – a break from school. Finding the right balance while maintaining the learning gains established during the school year is about consistent, smaller bursts of effort, versus an overwhelming number of hours spent in a single day. It only takes 2-3 hours of work per week to prevent learning loss over the summer.

Many of IMSE’s Instructors and certified members across the country are also tutoring over the summer. If you are a parent or guardian seeking a tutor for your student this summer, search our list for a tutor near you. 

IMSE also partners with Learning Ally, a national, non-profit organization that has helped millions of students since 1948 who are blind, dyslexic, or have other learning disabilities, achieve confidence and independence in the classroom and in life. Learning Ally has a large community of tutors nationally. Search their tutor database here!







Please connect with us on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn, and Pinterest to get tips and tricks from your peers and us. Read the IMSE Journal to hear success stories from other schools and districts, and be sure to read the OG Weekly email series for refreshers and tips.