By Adelle Schwark
Speech and Language Therapist
We all know that the world has become smaller. One of the benefits for me has been the close contact I have with other therapists around the world. I spend, probably too much time, on Instagram and Pinterest getting ideas and learning new things.
The Summer Slide is described by these teachers and therapists as, “… the tendency for students, especially those from low-income families, to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year.” Well, in America the summer holiday can sometimes be almost three months long, so I am not surprised there is a deterioration. Our holiday is thankfully not as long but we still see similar trends. As I work in the classrooms of Grade Rs, Ones and Twos, I see the same children after the December break as I saw before. Often the majority do not have the same level of literacy skill as they did in the November of the previous year.
Technically the definition relates particularly to children of a low- income bracket who do not have access to books over the Summer. That is not the case. We all have the bookshelves bursting with largely untouched books, from the selection of Marist Bookshops over the years.
Our children have access to books, but my fear is that those poor books have too much competition. There is so much else that our kids have access to …. the ipad, the tv, catch up, box office, outings playdates so much ‘on demand’ that they don’t get the opportunity to get bored. Bored enough to wonder down and pick up a book.
The avid readers do. They enjoy reading and the bug has bitten. They end in November with high reading scores and sometimes return with higher ones. These are not the children we are concerned about.
Luckily, I have three sons and I too have started many school holidays with great intentions of everybody reading, only to be met with complaints and, “I will read later ma.” It is no easy feat to compete with the world and its channel hopping, screen swapping excitement.