How to Prevent Summer Slide, Help Close Achievement Gap

By KBJR News 1

June 4, 2012 Updated Jun 4, 2012 at 9:34 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - It's the end of the school year, and while students are often looking forward to a break, educators are hoping kids don't completely become disengaged.

"All students are susceptible to the summer slide," said Carla Harrold, a Curriculum Specialist for Duluth Public Schools.

She says there are ways to keep a young learner from going backwards.

"Kids who keep some academic activities going in the summer, do much better and there is some research to indicate that much of the achievement gap happens in the summer."

The achievement gap is the difference between the success of struggling students, often those from low-income households and students of color, in comparison to their peers.

"We have found in fact that 85 percent of the achievement gap happens over the summer, so it's really important that students remain engaged," said Ed Crawford, the Assistant Superintendent of ISD 709.

Closing the achievement gap and growth year to year for all students are both a large part of the new system measuring school success under Minnesota's waiver from No Child Left Behind, making summer more of a priority, but educators say engagement to prevent the slide doesn't have to be complex.

"It can be anything from going to the library and picking up a book to family trips, to games that keep the mind engaged and so forth," said Crawford.

"There's a lot of research that says that up to eight books a summer can prevent much of the summer slide," said Harrold.

Students at Title One Schools in Duluth went home with exactly that, eight books, both fiction and non-fiction.

"So if parents can read with their kids, provide books to their kids, maybe using the public library and provide a time to do some reading at home," said Harrold.

The students in Title One schools also got an application for a library card and information on activities and programming through a partnership with the library.

They're a simple way to make a big difference when back-to-school comes this Fall.

Posted to Web by Jena Pike