Summer Slide: It’s not universal and it’s preventable inshaallaah

By DFB Staff Writer

There’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard of summer slide – the academic loss, most often tied to reading but that also occurs in maths – that some children experience during the summer vacation. In this article we’re going to focus on summer reading loss and trust you’ll remember that this loss also occurs in maths. Onward.

Slide Summer Sky in background

Did you know experts believe summer slide is cumulative? Studies have found that, with reading skills specifically, summer slide results in some children being almost 3 grades behind their peers! ( And did you also know that summer reading slide is not universal? According to some researchers, it isn’t.

So which children lose 2 months of reading skills during the summer months? And what can be done to prevent this loss? Sadly, children from low-socioeconomic backgrounds are those for whom summer reading loss is a problem – but this is where summer reading loss is not, according to some studies – universal. Not all children from low-socioeconomic backgrounds experience the very real and very damaging summer reading slide. And alhamdulillaah, it looks like summer reading slide is preventable, and the prevention doesn’t require a heavy investment.

Studies show that children from low-socioeconomic backgrounds tend to lose “more than two months of reading achievement” over the summer while summer reading slide “for kids from middle- and upper-middle-income households…doesn’t exist at all” (Murphy Paul, 2013). Subhanaallaah. But alhamdulillaah, there are children from low-socioeconomic backgrounds for whom summer reading slide also does not exist. “A study published [in 2012] in the Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk reported “not all low-SES [socio-economic status] students experience summer learning loss” (Murphy Paul, 2013). Alhamdullillaah, but why is that? Some researchers suggest it’s because, during the summer, those children’s parents read to their children, they provide their children with books to read, and they take their children to the library, among other things.

Summer is approaching inshaa Allaah, but there is reason not to fear summer reading slide alhamdulillaah: one researcher found that “giving kids 12 books to read over the summer [is] as effective as summer school in raising the students’ reading scores” and another group of researchers found that giving children just “four to five books [to read] over the summer was large enough to prevent a decline in reading-achievement scores from the spring to the fall” (Murphy Paul, 2013). But wait. Don’t just give your children any book to read. Our children are an amana (a trust) and to ensure they grow up with the correct beliefs, we need to give our children books that adhere to the religion according to the beliefs of the salaf as-salih. All DFB publications adhere to the Quran and authentic sunnah and they are here to help ensure your children are among those for whom summer reading slide does not exist. 


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