How to Avoid “Summer Slide”

Summer is refreshing time for students and a sweet time of giving little minds a rest after working hard all school year. Who didn t love mentally checking out for three months, playing video games, and going on family vacation as a kid?

A recent article warned parents against allowing their kids minds to be completely idle all summer long. The article introduced a concept called summer slide. According to the article, kids can lose at least two months (22 %) of what was learned during the school year while on summer break.

One of the key areas emphasized to prevent summer slide is reading. As you know, reading is the foundation to success in any subject and key to comprehension in studying. It is also one of the areas that some of our students may struggle the most. This presents a challenging, but hopeful and tangible opportunity for mentors to engage with their students during the summer.

If you are looking for a way to connect with your mentee this summer consider reading with them. Mentees need mentors to present reading to them in a fun, rewarding light and not as a task, drudgery, or subject of defeat. Taking time to pick out an age and culturally appropriate book together (see below for book suggestions), picking a fun place to read, and reading about topics and issues that pertain to their lives will help them associate reading as a positive activity. Don t be afraid to team up with parents on this as well. Ideally, families would read aloud together 20 minutes per day.

Not only will reading together provide time for you to sharpen your mentee academically, but it will also provide a chance to discuss important spiritual issues and life-lessons that books present. Since we are primarily here to disciple and train them in the way of Christ, this is just one more opportunity to speak into their hearts about who He is and how He wants us to live. Reading the Bible or a book that presents characters who overcome the struggles and temptations of life will provide conversation starters for you and your mentee to talk about Christ in a deeper way.

Suggested websites for booklists:

Reading Takes You Far – Divided into grade-appropriate readings lists (Educational, not particularly Christian)

2011-12 Multicultural Booklist (Grades Pre K-5) (Educational, not particularly Christian)

Mercy Street Dallas – Book Suggestions for Students

The Jesus Story Book Bible


-Natosha Griffin, Mentor


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