Preventing the "summer slide" in kids

Posted at 7:43 PM, May 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-19 08:31:54-04

One of the biggest challenges teachers face every fall is catching students up on everything they forgot over the summer. It's called the "summer slide," but picking up a book can go a long way towards preventing that.

The Lansing School District is trying to make sure it's students stay learning over the summer. This year it's summer reading van will be moving around the city, letting students from Kindergarten through Sixth grade pick out two free books.

"Research has shown that children who have access to books in their homes have a leg up," said Jennifer Otto, Director of Lansing's Reading is Fundamental program." Just having the reading material--and some of our kids don't have much--just having it there will give them a leg up in school and in later life."

Kids who don't read over the summer can lose up to three months of reading progress, according to MSU extension. Plus those students will go back to school further behind than where they left at the end of the year.

"You spend so much time in school and someone says read this now read that now but here's a way that they can choose 'I want to read this book,'" added Otto, who also run's Lansing's Community Learning Center.

It's something Antonio Mahaffey says makes a difference with his son.

"It got him very much interested and he's the one that actually now says 'I want to read, let me pick out a book,'" he explained.

Mahaffey says he's planning to keep reinforcing that with his son this summer.

"I would much prefer a solid book than a tablet or the phone," he added. "We're trying to teach him that technology is here, but we want you to read a hardcover book."

The district is still working on the schedule for the locations and dates the van will be open.