Arizona nonprofits partner in defense against ‘summer slide’

The “summer slide” describes a student’s tendency to fall behind in academic progress over the summer months, and is a term that every parent should know. Between the rush of pool parties, play dates and other fun summer activities, it’s all too easy for a parent to let their child’s ongoing education take a back seat during the summer months. After all, the few months off school are called summer “break” for a reason.

However, the reality is that young students who do not read over the summer months have a significantly more challenging experience adjusting to the curriculum when they return to class in the fall. In some cases, the consequences can lead to months, or even years of delays in academic performance.

Southwest Human Development, in partnership with Reading Is Fundamental and St. Vincent de Paul, hosts Super Summer Learning events at the St. Vincent de Paul Dream Center to help minimize the summer reading gap. The Dream Center provides a designated space for children ages 3-18 to engage in enriching activities such as art, crafts, math, tutoring, reading and science experiments. The programs are comprised of a four-part literacy event, followed by a summer’s-long celebration, to encourage children to embrace the world of literacy and the importance of continued reading during the summer break.

Each Super Summer Learning Read for Success event is a fun-filled festival of literacy activities and games designed for S.T.E.A.M. development. Children are encouraged to sign up and take part in the Super Summer Learning Read for Success events by pledging to continue to read throughout the summer. Each child receives eight free, age-appropriate books that they can select to take home for their personal library, a literacy journal to track the hours they have spent reading, book recommendation cards and a special Read for Success backpack. Parents also benefit from informative literacy tip sheets to help support and encourage their child’s language and literacy skill development.

St. Vincent de Paul families can take advantage of upcoming Super Summer Learning Read for Success events:

June 2, 2017 | 4:00-6:00 p.m. | Superheroes are Super Readers
Summer kick-off with a fun-filled festival of literacy activities, games and special appearances by comic book characters!

June 23, 2017 | 4:00-6:00 p.m. | Healthy Recipes for Healthy Habits
Work with recipes and gain exposure to math skills, science, language, literacy and writing skills during the summer break while creating healthy habits.

July 14, 2017 | 4:00-6:00 p.m. | All Star Learners
Learn about team building, encouragement, sport terminology, confidence, character and friendship, while interacting with some of Arizona’s favorite professional sports team mascots!

August 4, 2017 | 4:00-6:00 p.m. | Science Rocks!
Learn and experiment with activities to create and broaden the minds of future scientists.

August 18, 2017 | 4:00-6:00 p.m. | Super Summer Learning Read For Success Finale
Celebration of young readers! Each child will receive a Reading Certificate and special prizes will be awarded to children who spent the most time reading. Each child will also receive a free book!

In addition to Summer Learning Read for Success, parents have access to many free programs around the Valley that strive to create enticing opportunities for a fun summer reading experience.

The Great Reading Adventure is an open source software available to families with a library card, and provides features like digital badges, literacy activities, built-in evaluation, progress reporting and more.

Maricopa County parents are encouraged to take advantage of Maricopa County Reads, an award-winning summer reading program provided by the Maricopa County Library District to all public libraries within Maricopa County. The free online program provides a range of challenges and incentives for both pre-readers, and children who are transitioning between school years.

Community literacy programs like Super Summer Learning Read for Success, The Great Learning Adventure and Maricopa County Reads help to make reading an engaging, fun summer activity. According to Scholastic, children who read four or more books over summer are more likely to succeed in reading comprehension skills in the fall than their peers who have read one or no books over the summer months.

Find a library near you and begin reading with your child today!

All content in this article, including any advice or commentary from Southwest Human Development staff and/or others, should be considered an opinion and is provided for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for medical or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the direct advice of your own trusted professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the child/ren in your care. Southwest Human Development does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, products, procedures or other information that may be mentioned in this article. You may contact Southwest Human Development’s Birth to Five Helpline at 1-877-705-KIDS (5437) to speak with one of our early childhood professionals for personalized assistance. Birth to Five Helpline specialists are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.