Prevent “Summer Slide” in Reading Skills

By Barbara Choudhury, SLP – Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center

Summer vacation isn’t all fun and games (even if it should be).  Research shows that summer can take a toll on a student’s knowledge and skills-from mathematics to reading development.  Summer learning loss (“summer slide”) contributes substantially to the achievement gap between low-income and high-income students.  Luckily many types of summer programs can help keep a child’s mind engaged over the summer.

Importance of Summer Reading

The value placed on literacy in the home, time spent reading with children, and the availability and use of reading materials have been identified as important elements in children’s reading success (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998).  Supporting reading development over the summer months can be done in ways that activate a child’s interests and imagination.  It is not enough to simply tell parents that it is important to read to children.

Did you know?

  • Without effective reading and literacy skills, people struggle academically, occupationally, and socially.
  • Research shows that greater exposure to language and reading each day is more likely to develop strong reading ability.
  • High-quality summer learning programs have been shown to also improve school attachment, motivation, and relationships with adults and peers.
  • Research suggests that three to four consecutive summers of high-quality learning beginning in pre-kindergarten can get kids reading on grade level by third grade, making them four times more likely to graduate from high school.

CHSC Summer Reading Camp

Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center’s Summer Reading Camp is designed to improve students reading ability through structured, multisensory reading instruction targeting the five key areas of reading instruction identified by the National Reading Panel in 2000 (phonemic awareness, the alphabetic principle, accuracy and fluency of reading, vocabulary, and comprehension) and consistent with the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts (CCS).  The CHSC Summer Reading Camp is unique because it is facilitated by a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who provides reading instruction using research-based methods to develop critical reading skills.  The reading instruction is paired with strengthening of oral language skills (which speech-language pathologists are specifically trained to do) to provide the foundation for reading and literacy.

The CHSC Summer Reading Camp is facilitated by Barbara Choudhury, a speech-language pathologist who coordinates the reading and writing services at Cleveland & Hearing and Speech Center.  She is certified as a Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner and has over 10 years experience using the Wilson Reading Program with children.

The sessions:

  • Run six consecutive weeks (June 14-July 19th, 2017)
  • Meet one time per week (either Wednesdays or Thursdays)
  • Daily sessions are two hours long
  • Grouped by grade level (entering 1st – 5th)
  • Small group instruction

Everything at CHSC Summer Reading Camp (stories, games, activities) involves letter or reading, as do the crafts or other hands on activities.  The children participate in a pre-test to determine their current skill levels and then a post-test is completed at the end of camp to see how much growth they have made in the 6 weeks.

Parent Involvement and Education

An important component of the program is to send home a note to parents explaining the skills their children are demonstrating in the camp activities.  The parent can then be aware of important aspects to work on with the child and learn how to help keep skills sharp once reading camp is over.  Some simple, recommended activities for the parents to do with their children are:

  • Read everything: point out words on signs, read instructions and captions out loud; encourage your child to help you cook or bake and read the instructions together.
  • Play word games like I Spy: as you talk with your child point out the names, colors, shapes of things. “I spy with my little eye, something that is a square and has lots of pages.” It’s a book.  This helps your child build vocabulary, which is key to sound out unknown words while reading (it’s much easier to sound out a word if you know that the word exists in the first place).
  • Go to the library to read books with your child. Then connect what you read with what happens in life (read about animals and take a trip to the zoo).
  • Have your child use a finger to trace a letter while saying the letter’s sound. Do this on paper, in sand, or on a plate of sugar.
  • Sing songs, read rhyming books, and say silly tongue twisters. These help kids become sensitive to the sounds in words.

Have a happy and healthy summer!  Be sure to read, read, and read some more!  Not only can we prevent the summer slide, we can help reading growth with hard work over the summer.  For more information, please contact Barbara Choudhury at the Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center  216-325-7532 or