Summer Slide 2020 could be the scariest in years

In a normal year, as soon as school lets out for the summer, there is a drop in reading by most children. It’s not hard to understand. School is out, no homework, no assignments, it’s time to do anything but sit down and read.

This phenomenon results in what has historically been called, “the summer slide,” a drop in reading levels, comprehension and just all-around mental acuity. It’s the old saying, “Use it or lose it.” But this year, for students who have been out of school for months already, picking up a book or Kindle or whatever device brings them in front of words, is crucial.

According to information provided by Terresa Kepner, a Shepherd University associate professor and Early Education Program Coordinator, teachers have long understood and acknowledged the loss of learning children typically experience during the summer months.

Kepner cited a recent Yale University report on the “coronavirus slide,” saying there is approximately a one-month regression in reading skills of children in kindergarten through second grade in an average year due to the lack of reading opportunities most children experience over summer break. The increased significance of such a loss this year due to the “‘coronavirus slide’ …. is expected to lead to a 30% loss in learning compared to a normal school year”.

The programs and opportunities offered at public libraries over the summer are highly effective at helping reduce such a regression in an average year. In 2020, such options will be more essential than ever before, said Kepner.

Here at the Charles Town Library, we have always offered a Summer Reading program. There are two groups – readers up to the age of 12, and readers aged 13 to 18. To allow easier access to reading material even though we have not yet opened our doors, we are filling requests for books and delivering them “porch-side.”

We have also subscribed to hoopla, an online service that has more than 700,000 ebooks, audiobooks, online comics, graphic novels and movies, that is free to everyone who has a Charles Town Library Card in good standing. To join hoopla, go to Be sure to have your library card handy to complete the application.

For more information, Kepner recommends:

Other resources you might want to check out:

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