The Summer Slide

dyslexia learning disability reading disability Jun 27, 2024
Warning about summer slide for dyslexia  in pool with float.

Have you heard of the summer slide?

Nope. It has nothing to do with playgrounds or water parks. 

Summer slide refers to the regression or loss of knowledge or skills that occurs between the end of one school year and the start of the next school year.  This happens to every kid to some degree, which is why the first several weeks of every school year involve review.  

Let’s use an example that’s not related to school.  A few years ago I watched video tutorials for a week or two, and I learned how to knit. I knit a few basic pieces (baby hats), but then sort of lost interest. Several months later I decided to come back to it, and even though I had already learned this skill, I needed to re-watch the videos as a reminder. I was able to learn the steps faster the second time around, but I still had to re-watch all the videos to get back to the skill level I was before. 

Dyslexia and ESY

What does this mean for our kids with dyslexia? Well, if our child is still working on the fundamentals of reading in school and some of these skills are lost over the summer, then much of their hard work will need to be repeated. This is why many Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) include an Extended School Year (ESY), also known to us old folks as summer school.   ESY looks different depending on the state, the school district and the specific learning disability.  It’s common for the school to want to see data to justify ESY, such as a fall diagnostic test that showed they lost skills compared to a score from the prior spring.  I think it’s also very valid to make a case for ESY based on your observations, so if you felt your child regressed over the summer break the previous year then it’s worth suggesting ESY be part of the next IEP. 


You could also make some plans to try to prevent summer slide at home.  Look back at your child’s last report card and see some of the skills they were working on at the end of the year.  Are there ways you could reinforce those skills? Are there games for the tablet that you could download to practice the skills?  I have found Khan academy to be a useful tool at certain stages over the years, but my kids didn’t buy into it as much as I’ve heard other kids do. 

Other ideas for ways to prevent summer slide:

-Enroll in programs at the public library

-Look for academic camps (yup…they exist)

-Sign up for Kumon or other tutoring center

-Hire a tutor - this could be a high school student in your neighborhood or a trained teacher, depending on your budget and what your child needs. 

-Hire a trained literacy instructor/Orton-Gillingham instructor. For more info about this, What is Orton-Gillingham? A Quick Guide for Parents


This blog is not meant to ruin your child's summer or stress you out. Pick one or two of these items that seem easy for you to do, and just do them. You'll feel good knowing you're doing your part to prevent summer slide and getting your kid off to the best possible start for the next grade. 


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