"Summer Slide is described as having something to do with how kids from low-income families lose the most ground, educationally, during the summer months when they are not in class, losing access to books and to the opportunity to continue their studies, or just to read for enjoyment and improvement of their levels of language comprehension, reading comprehension and literacy. And when repeated summer after summer....it can all add up to negative effect.
During the last week of May the Houston Chronicle had an editorial on efforts in the city by a new Houston-based volunteer group, Books Between Kids, that is helping large numbers of kids to build home libraries.
To quote the editorial:
"In the coming weeks, at book fairs across town, students will choose the books they want to take home - books that interest them, books they'll read, books that are astoundingly good for them. And this year, Barnes and Alhorn hope, is only the beginning. As great as the response to their call has been, the need is far greater. Roughly 80 percent of HISD students are low-income.
"In many households, books are luxury items," Barnes recently told the Chronicle. "Food and shelter have to come first. How can we not do something about that?"
One comment made several points in a response:
The person suggested that parenting needed to be tried...Toss the xbox, hide the TV cord, make the kid get a summer job (I, myself, was mowing lawns and running errands for neighbors by age 12, and a community volunteer by age 14, all year long) and read a book a week. Learning all sorts of new skills may make the kid tired, but he or she will learn the value of an education.
I was inspired to write an essay, in response, and submit it in hopes of it being published. As of this writing it has not (It's possible I sent it to the wrong email address, as I have since learned they have one for letters and one for essays.) so I am sharing it here.