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School officials encourage reading over the summer to prevent 'summer slide'

Ellen Abbott
Students in Syracuse choose books for a summer reading initiative

Research shows that during summer, children who don’t continue to read, lose about two months of the reading growth they’ve made during the school year.  It's called 'summer slide.' Syracuse City School District Superintendent Sharon Contreras says that can be a big issue, especially in an urban district like Syracuse.

"It is often caused by lack of access to books, and not visiting the library," said Contreras. "So it’s important that we provide students with their own personal libraries and encourage them to attend public libraries, so they don’t lose the terrific gains they’ve made during the school year."

Eva Williams, principal at the Van Duyn Elementary School in Syracuse, says this summer slide becomes becomes clear when kids go back to school in September.

"The way you can tell early on in the school year, is when students return back to school, we give them pre-assessments," said Williams. "If that reassessment data doesn’t align with the end of the school year data, we know we’ve seen some summer slide."

To combat summer slide, the Syracuse City School District is partnering with the American Book Company to offer all kindergarten through fifth grade students their own books, so they can keep up their reading skills. School officials are asking students to read for at least 20 minutes to an hour each day, and visit a local library at least once during the summer.