Preventing the “Summer Slide”

Parents Cannot Do it Alone: Preventing the Summer Slide


This past weekend, our family attended the Greenville Drive baseball game as a part of the Summer Reading All-Stars event. This program, a partnership between the Greenville Library System, Michelin, and the Greenville Drive, rewards students who reach summer-long reading goals.


With William, perched on my shoulders, I walked with hundreds of children and proud parents around the field prior to the game, as part of the end-of-summer celebration.


These families ensured their children read throughout the summer, not only preventing hours of summer boredom, but, practically guaranteeing these students enter school reading at a higher level than when they left. By taking advantage of resources provided by the Greenville Library System and Michelin, these parents armed their children with the best opportunities for school success.


Students who do not read will lose 2-3 months of reading skills over the summer. Over several years, this “summer slide” could lead to a student falling 2-3 years behind her peers. But, the families in the summer reading challenge are helping combat this.


Students like the ones I walked with, will head back to school reading ahead of many of their peers because their family took advantage of a support system to foster continued educational attainment. They made the most of summer vacation.


I believe a parent is a child’s first and most important teacher. I believe that parents generally want what is best for their children. I believe that parents want their children to have all the resources possible to ensure the best possible future. But, through my 15 years experience at the YMCA and Greenville First Steps, I found that some parents lack the vision to help their children progress from where they are to where we want them to be.


Some don’t understand that reading 15 minutes a day is the single greatest predictor of school success.


Partnerships between the schools, local community partners, and parents can help strengthen family skill sets, and empower them to provide meaningful educational. Groups like Public Education Partners and the Greenville Library System partner with the Greenville County School District for summer reading programs to help empower parents to Make Summer Count.


As a School Board member I would encourage our schools to expand summer reading programs, partnering with local philanthropists to fund successful summer reading and math efforts. I will work to ensure that summer camps (like the YMCA, and Youth Base) work to integrate summer learning into their summer camp programs. These coordinated efforts will ensure families have the resources, trainings and supports they need to turn their homes into summer learning classrooms, fostering language and skill development that reduces the “summer slide” and empowers parents to work with their schools for shared success.